Day two of the PNG Women’s Forum was focused on business and partnerships.
Issues were raised on current small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and the SME Policy, with women concerned that it did not adequately cover the real struggles women face.
PNG Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Avia Koisen, said the current SME Policy does not address issues like the barriers women face when going into business from a grassroots level.
The forum engaged the women in a lively panel discussion on what is being done to increase financial literacy for women and opportunities for them to own and operate businesses in PNG.
Participants also talked about how the SME Policy will improve the business climate for women.
Koisen said the chamber discussed the policy and found it dissatisfactory in terms of catering to the interests of small to medium level female entrepreneurs.
Koisen said the chamber does not view the policy as a caterer to the interests of female small to medium level entrepreneurs, especially when it comes to addressing the grassroots and the cultural barriers women face when entering into business.
She said in order to promote a business and economic climate for women, these are issues that must be included as a way forward. The chamber has written to the Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, detailing their findings of the critical analysis.
She said no feedback has been given.
Koisen said the policy also fails to address how SMEs can access finance or access to markets. She said these issues must be addressed, as they are the biggest issues. In the meantime, the PNG Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry has, this year, been asked by the Commonwealth Business Network in the UK to be affiliated to them.
PNG is the 56th country to join the Commonwealth Business Network and the first in the Pacific. Advantages of this include the sharing of information and a unique opportunity to learn from other Commonwealth countries.