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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.

Chapter | Construction & Real Estate from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

The government has demonstrated notable early enthusiasm to boost the ease and transparency of land ownership processes, which should stimulate activity in the construction sector. Recent years have seen the industry hindered by vulnerability to foreign currency shortages, limited availability of land for development, a lack of transparency and insufficient human capital. Ongoing efforts to improve road connectivity and affordable housing supply are also poised to provide steady demand for construction around urban areas, before expanding outwards into rural communities. Housing availability is indeed a pressing issue, especially as real estate prices have been driven up by the limited availability of land and high cost of construction. The government has prioritised this issue and shown its commitment to improving the supply of basic utilities to support developers and local communities. There is also potential for both affordable and high-end developments to be buoyed by large-scale extractives deals, which would increase demand for property and provide trickle-down benefits for the wider economy. This chapter contains an interview with Brian Hull, Executive Chairman, Century 21 Siule.

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