WHY does the economy feel so much worse when we keep getting reports saying everything is fine. I mean, personally, it feels lousy.
Right now, independent economists say Papua New Guinea is in recession and, with further budget reductions expected in 2018 and a growing population, what we really need is growth not cutbacks.
So how do we resuscitate this economy and achieve sustained growth over multiple years and see investors having confidence, employers hiring and consumers buying. That’s what growth would look like in PNG.
I believe the x-factor is startups that develop the capacity to grow. I’m not talking about Microsoft, Apple or Google type hyper-growth, wonderful success stories that contributed to America’s prosperity.
No, what really matters is more modest investment in numerous small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). We should have a target of planning, launching, marketing, building and consolidating businesses, some of which will sail over the million-kina mark within a decade.
For a start, the government should initiate a program for qualified Papua New Guineans to have straightforward access to a K100,000 seeding grant to start a business.
This could be anything from a fashion designer making bilum dresses to small business owners opening coffee shops. We want more Papua New Guineans following their dreams and starting businesses that support their needs and their lifestyles and create jobs for others.
PNG needs growth. None of our problems will improve without it. And I believe we have the ambition and skills to achieve it.
What we need right now is a starting boost.