The Minister for Agriculture puts measures in place to stop the spread of African Swine Fever, Prime Minister James Marape announces stimulus package, and ICCC monitors shops to avoid price spikes in essential items. The business news you need to kickstart your week.
You can read our round-up of how business is adapting to the State of Emergency here.
Brian Bell’s chemical branch has seen a spike in sales of hygiene and some medical grade products, which are in high demand in PNG (as in most countries around the world) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its CEO, Cameron Mackellar, said: ‘Demand in many cases has well and truly outstripped our normal or regular stock holdings of these product lines and we have reacted quickly to source those essential lines and critical products from a range of alternative suppliers in addition to our regular supply partners’. At the time of writing, Brian Bell remains open for business. (The National)
The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) has asked all consumers to report businesses that have increased their prices in items the ICCC has declared essential goods. ICCC’s Commissioner and CEO, Paulus Ain, said that the commission will be working closely with the police to monitor shops and avoid price spikes. Price gouging cases can be reported through the toll-free number 180 3333. (LOOP)
Banking & finance
The lockdown has started to take a toll on business and Bank South Pacific (BSP) is discussing loan options for companies that have seen their economic activity reduced. BSP’s CEO, Robin Fleming, told The National: ‘We understand the impact will be different for many businesses and may change as [the] government introduces responsible measures to reduce the transmission of the virus. BSP has already discussed various options for businesses whose revenues are slowing down due to reduced economic activity.’
The Bank of Papua New Guinea has made it perfectly clear that those employers not complying with the Superannuation Act 2000 and the Superannuation Regulation (Amendment) 2004 will face legal action. Those not sending their employees’ contributions to an authorised superannuation fund could be fined with up to K500,000, be imprisoned or both. (The National)
Prime Minister James Marape has said that in the coming days he will announce a stimulus package to assist PNG businesses. Marape told the media last week that he is working with the central bank on ‘key monitory policies to lighten the burden of ordinary PNG businesses’. He also hinted to a revision of the 2020 budget to reflect the new economic circumstances. (Post-Courier)
Parliament will reconvene on 2 April. During this special sitting, the Post-Courier reports, the government will introduce two proposed bills: Proposed Emergency (General Provisions) Bill 2020 and Proposed Emergency (Defence Force) (COVID-19) Bill 2020.
PNG Air and Air Niugini have announced that there will be no ‘penalty fees’ for passengers who had purchased tickets to fly during the 14-day travel ban. (The National)
Mining operations around PNG haven’t been affected by the global health crisis at this time, according to The National. Ok Tedi Mining’s CEO, Peter Graham, told the newspaper that there is ‘No impact on export of OTML product at this time’. The CEO and Managing Director at K92 Mining, John Lewins, said that the operation at the Kainantu gold mine hasn’t been disrupted yet. He said: ‘In line with other mining operations in the country, the company intends to maintain normal operations at the mine and associated facilities, but will be curtailing all non-essential works, including major capital projects and all field exploration activities.’ (The National)
Mayur Resources has completed pioneering and site enabling works for the pilot plant at its Orokolo Bay Industrial Sands Project in PNG. (Mayur Resources)
PNG’s state of emergency will impact Steamships Trading Company Limited. The company continues to provide critical services through their shipping and logistics branches and, according to Post-Courier, the company is ‘bordering on new areas of doing business’. Its Managing Director, Michael Scantlebury, told the newspaper the company has suspended ‘non-core operational activities, releasing employees on paid leave and introducing rotational and remote working arrangements for essential staff’.
The Dubai-based company P&O Maritime Logistic (POML) announced last week that it has secured a contract to build two vessels for Ok Tedi Mining Limited. The vessels will be designed by Wartsila Ship Design and plans suggest they will be built at Fujian Mawai Shipbuilding Limited in China. The vessels will operate principally between Kiunga in the Western Province and Port Moresby. (Hellenic Shipping News)
The feasibility study for the next phase of the Pilikambi hydropower project in Enga Province, on the Lagaip River, will be conducted by SMEC Hydropower & Dams Southeast Asia. The study will focus, among other things, on preliminary designs, drawings and cost estimates for the analysis of the technical and financial viability of the Pilikambi hydropower project, which could deliver 18MV of power. (Water Power Magazine)
Photograph of the week
The National Department of Health in PNG’s capital, Port Moresby, has received a donation of over K127,000 worth of personal protection equipment from PNG Ports Corporation.
The Managing Director of PNG Ports Corporation, Fego Kiniafa, presented Health Minister Jelta Wong 50,000 face masks and 15 non-contact infrared thermometers that will be distributed throughout the country to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The post In brief: African swine fever reaches Papua New Guinea and other business stories appeared first on Business Advantage PNG.
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