The Papua New Guinea Investment Authority is a statutory body set up to promote and facilitate investment in all sectors of the economy.
The idea is that potential investors should contact the IPA for information about the law which governs business in PNG, and to seek out both business and investment possibilities.
There are many incentives for the foreign investor in Papua New Guinea, from tax holidays of five to ten years for ‘pioneer’ industries or new businesses in certain designated rural areas, to wage subsidies for new manufacturing enterprises and various export promotion incentives. There are also other advantages which have been negotiated by the government, such as preferential access to a number of overseas markets for certain products manufactured in PNG. The IPA can explain the details of these incentives, promotions and trade agreements to interested parties.
While PNG’s mining and petroleum industries offer some of the most attractive investment opportunities for any investor, the IPA will offer advice and information on investment opportunities in all areas, and in all business types. Some of the most promising sectors are fisheries, agriculture, manufacturing and forestry. The IPA currently has hundreds of potential investment opportunities from all of these sectors, some with detailed studies already completed, while others have brief marketing reports.
Joint ventures, are one of the many ways in which foreign investors can participate in the PNG economy. A foreign investor can team up with a local partner which may, for instance, be a government department or a locally registered company. The IPA can provide all the information on the process of setting up a joint venture, and can help a foreign investor find an appropriate partner.
The IPA is able to deal with investor applications for certification within 35 days and process company registration and other applications within seven days. With its network of links with various government agencies and departments, the IPA can walk investors through the process of securing the necessary approvals, permits and licences. Its growing database can help businesses find supplies and connect with retailers. The most common enquiry, though, is for assistance in helping to find a business partner, which it is often able to effect using the database of foreign and domestic investors and by arranging introductions.
The IPA deals with several hundred enquiries from the public each week.
It recently completed a nation-wide survey to help counter the chronic problem of a general lack of information in the country, particularly at the provincial level. The results of this survey have proved to be very useful, not only helping to identify investment opportunities in the provinces, but also revealing areas where policy changes were required in order to boost investor confidence.
This kind of information can be fed back to the relevant government departments and changes can be made.
Another major activity currently under way is the review of the Companies Act. Changes are being made in this Act to accommodate changing business conditions and to prepare for the planned Papua New Guinea Stock Exchange. The IPA is helping the government in its efforts to start this Stock Exchange, which, once established, would obviously further facilitate investment and economic development.
Specific services offered by the IPA include: a montly newsletter which highlights Joint Venture business opportunities, the Investor and Promotion Services Division to help approval process in relation to the investment (modest fee is charged for this service) help with the Companies Act, the Business Names Act and the Trademarks Act; there are very few limits on the types of investment that can be entered into.