NOOSA – The annual Business Advantage International (BAI) survey of 100 chief executives in Papua New Guinea has found that the shortage of foreign exchange remains the top problem facing business in the country.
The PNG 100 CEO Survey, conducted each year since 2012, included senior executives from a representative sample of PNG’s largest companies across all sectors of the economy.
Each year, the survey asks CEOs to identify the important issues they face and also provide information about anticipated profit levels and expectations for investment and recruitment in the year ahead.
For the third consecutive year, access to foreign exchange was the most significant impediment to business, being nominated by 71% of respondents as a first order issue, up from 60% in 2017.
It is considered a critical issue by 42% of respondents and very important by 29%.
Other issues considered to be critical are lack of government capacity, shortage of expertise and skills, unreliable telecommunications, and security and law and order, although telecommunications and security were said to be much improved from 2017.
However, business leaders remain generally optimistic despite the varied economic conditions. Two-thirds believe profits will rise this year, with less than 10% anticipating lower profits.
Investment and employment intentions are useful indicators of business confidence and the survey found that two-thirds of respondents were planning to increase investment this year, despite subdued economic conditions.
Over half were also planning to increase employee numbers this year.
BAI has been involved in promoting business in PNG and the Pacific since 2005. On 6 and 7 August it will host the PNG Investment Conference in Brisbane.