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The National Development Bank has supported moves by the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority (PNGICA) to impose a moratorium on all visas for non-citizens to be employed with SME companies.

Managing Director, Moses Liu said should it become effective it will ensure better participation from local SME’s and even out the playing field that is uneven at the moment.

Mr. Liu made these remarks following a recent announcement by the PNGICA to impose a moratorium on all new visa application and visa extensions for working resident employment visas for non-citizens engaged in SME companies especially in the retail sector business.

“It is no secret that all over Papua New Guinea, foreigners are operating trade stores at even the most remote parts of the country and in doing so, are limiting opportunities for our locals to engage in this area and in some instances even putting them out of business,” Mr. Liu said.  

He highlighted that access to finance is a major issue for SMEs, and in the retail sector and adding that, “having more finance means being able to purchase stock in bulk and at a lower price, enabling you to sell at a lower price and be more competitive.” 

Mr. Liu commended PNGICA for doing its part to addressing this issue and is looking forward to the implementation of the reserved activity listing by the new Government to further protect local SMEs.

Mr. Liu is now calling on respective government agencies and departments to step up and help to create a more conducive environment for SMEs.