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Report | The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

The economic downturn resulting from lower global commodity prices and the completion of the PNG LNG project means the future of Papua New Guinea must be navigated with care. The country possesses plentiful natural resources, which, given effective management, could provide new revenue to spur diversification, as well as sustainable and equitable growth in all provinces.

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Chapter | Legal Framework from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

This chapter explores Papua New Guinea’s legal system across the national, local and provincial levels, including the laws that may impact a foreign enterprise in its business dealings in PNG; the taxes and import duties imposed on individuals and business organisations; the rules regarding the use of customary land; and the conditions under which citizens of the country can be employed. The chapter includes a viewpoint from John Leahy, Principal, Leahy PNG Law.

Chapter | Tax from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

Papua New Guinea is in the process of significant changes following recent amendments to the tax code, which include new rules for the taxation of extractive industries, while proposed reforms include the introduction of a capital gains tax and the rewriting of the Income Tax Act. The 2020 budget is focused mainly on reforming the revenue administration system. It also includes a limited number of changes to the tax regime, including introducing a new tax system for small and medium-sized enterprises, reducing the permitted debt-to-equity ratio for resources companies and amending the tax dispute resolution process. This chapter contains a viewpoint from Jonathan Seeto, Managing Partner, PwC Papua New Guinea.

Chapter | Tourism from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

Successive governments have identified tourism as a promising avenue for Papua New Guinea to diversify its economy away from a reliance on extractive industries. PNG’s biodiversity and rich cultural traditions offer a range of tourism opportunities that stand to be unlocked by improved infrastructure and effective marketing strategies. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the country seemed poised to reap longer-term benefits from hosting the 2018 APEC Leaders’ Summit, which placed it under the international spotlight. Moreover, visitors who made the trip to PNG largely reported positively on their experiences: more than 90% of visitors in 2018 stated they would return. Tourism, however, is expected to be among the final industries to recover from the pandemic. When international travel picks up again, the challenge will be to make a wider range of destinations accessible, while also ensuring that they are protected from overdevelopment and environmental damage. This chapter contains an interview with Tony Honey, Owner, Tufi Resort.

Chapter | ICT from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

The laying of two subsea fibre-optic cables – one international and one domestic – are among the recent and promising ICT developments in Papua New Guinea. There is optimism that these will help expand access and reduce costs in rural areas, which are home to over 80% of the country’s 8.6m-strong population. To keep pace with these developments, moves have been made to enhance data protection and cybersecurity, improve quality and pricing, and guide the progress of PNG’s digital networks. The government has also prioritised digital literacy and the upskilling of personnel to equip the country with a workforce capable of adapting to an increasingly digital world. These efforts will help PNG better capitalise on improved ICT infrastructure and leverage technological advancements for the benefit of the wider economy. This chapter contains an interview with Paul Komboi, Managing Director, DataCo.

Chapter | Agriculture & Fisheries from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

Agriculture is a central pillar of Papua New Guinea’s economy. In 2019 it made up 25% of GDP and contributed to the livelihood of 85% of the population. PNG’s commitment to place agriculture at centre stage and promote the socio-economic development of smallholder farmers bodes well for the future. Currently, the sector remains dependent on export revenues from key crops such as palm oil, cocoa and coffee, as well as fisheries, which makes it vulnerable to changes in commodity prices. The goal of reaching self-sufficiency in food production goes hand-in-hand with the need to develop self-reliant food systems and address the concerns posed by climate change. Although the global spread of Covid-19 has highlighted long-standing transport and logistical challenges, political determination and sustained support from development partners could potentially result in an era of rapid development for the sector. This chapter contains an interview with Alan Bird, Governor, East Sepik Province.

Chapter | Industry & Retail from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

With the Covid-19 pandemic set to significantly slow economic growth worldwide in 2020, Papua New Guinea’s industrial sector can expect some headwinds; however, growth is forecast to return in 2021. The authorities hope the industrial sector can benefit from the rebound and help to improve national self-sufficiency in areas such as food production, while boosting export revenues in the process. Plans to fuel the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises across a wide range of industries also bode well for future expansion. If successful, this should spur the emergence of downstream activities centred around the country’s natural resources. Meanwhile, key players in the retail sector have adapted quickly to meet the challenges presented by the pandemic. In many cases, brands have transitioned from physical stores to online platforms. Supply chains have remained relatively resilient, indicating that the sector can expect to return to the growth trajectory witnessed over recent years, fuelled by urbanisation and a rapidly growing middle class. This chapter contains interviews with James Rice, CEO, Paradise Foods; and Alfred Yau, Director, Papindo.

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