papua new guinea - developments

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    PNG offers better deal
    By John Wright
    AUSTRALIAN investors in Papua New Guinea have been promised a better "enabling" environment, including easier visa access and a clampdown on law and order and corruption problems.

    The PNG Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, yesterday outlined measures for the restoration of investor confidence in his country and its struggling economy.

    He told PNG's private business sector his six-month-old government was committed to good governance as a priority, including the strengthening of the public service, and to political and administrative transparency and integrity.

    Among measures he foreshadowed in his first address to business since last year winning a fourth term as PNG leader were greater incentives for the resources, logging and agricultural sectors and the progressive removal of investment barriers.

    They included the probable relaxation of immigration laws to allow for longer-term business visas, a review of mining levies and export logging taxes, the priority development of agricultural production and road infrastructure and a continuing attack on PNG's rampant urban crime problem.

    "Law and order is a long-term problem and no overnight prescription is available," Sir Michael said. "But we will continue our efforts to reduce its impact."

    Sir Michael, who will court potential Australian investors in Brisbane and Sydney next week, is expected to push opportunities in the mining and petroleum, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism sectors.

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