A new foreign investment law planned for Bougainville | Pacific Beat

A new foreign investment law planned for Bougainville

A new foreign investment law planned for Bougainville

Updated 17 June 2013, 17:56 AEST

The President of Papua New Guinea's Autonomous Region of Bougainville, John Momis, says his government is working on introducing a new foreign investment code.

He says there are local concerns that newly arrived foreigners are dominating small businesses in Buka town and the surrounding region.

President Monis says there is a problem with some people taking advantage of a lack of law enforcement, but that is going to change with the formation of a new security company.

President Monis spoke to Pius Bonjui from Radio Australia's Tok Pisin service.

Presenter: Pius Bonjui

Speaker: President of Papua New Guinea's Autonomous Region of Bougainville, John Momis

MOMIS: The ABG is now about to approve our new proposed investment code and policy. I believe we will introduce it into the September sitting of our parliament and it will be passed during that sitting. And that investment code will then determine the kind of criteria will we need for foreign investors to adhere to before they can be accepted into the region. The investment code will make sure that local interests are protected and promoted, by the same token foreign investors interests must be protected and promoted. Our reason is to create a conducive climate or atmosphere for foreign investment and for internal investment so that both foreigners and Bougainvilleans can have a win-win situation, can have a benefit. We want to encourage business that will have mutually beneficial results for our people. If we don't then the foreign businesses, especially  Chinese, will just swamp us. They've got connections, their businesses are their bread and butter, we don't have that entrepreneurial flair, we don't have the capital, we don't have the skills, and that is why we want to make sure that credible businessmen and only credible businessmen, and we can do that by screening them, doing due diligence before we accept them to come and practice business here. But by the same token we must also realise the fact that without foreign businessmen we'll be going around in circles because business is not something, is not our forte, not something that we know beset.
BONJUI: I heard a report that there was a plane that flew into Buka last Sunday?
MOMIS: Yes a Chinese businessman was invited by the ABG to come to Bougainville and they flew in in their own jet from Hong Kong from Beijing, and they had discussions with it before they went back. We are happy with the discussions and we've been looking at ways and means of ensuring that people who come here and who want to invest in resource development whether it be agricultural, mining, fisheries and oil and other businesses, prepared housing and other businesses will have to meet our criteria. Soon we'll be getting, as things develop, as the rule of law and the situation on the ground improves, you can bet your bottom dollar a lot of people will be coming here. Some probably don't have honourable motives, but by having our own law and our own bureau to scrutinise people, I think we'll be in the best position to find out whether people are genuine or whether they've got capital and so on and so forth to talk to the government and to our people. What we are worried about is the people who are coming through the back door, and they've been doing it for a long time because they've been exploiting or taking advantage of the lack of law enforcement on the ground. And soon this practice will come to an end as we are now forming a joint security company in conjunction with an Australian company to train our own people to take care, to work in security, to first of all absorb ex-combatants and other young men and women to help us provide security and complement the work of the police force.


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