Bank boss paints positive picture of PNG prospects

PHOTO: Kina Bank/Twitter

Kina Bank plans to invest over K30 million (US$7.9 million) this year to expand and refine its services with a focus on improving Papua New Guinea customer service, says Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Greg Pawson.

He said during the Prime Ministers’ Back to Business breakfast in Port Moresby that given the current geopolitical climate with the persistent economic challenges all nations were facing, leadership was now required more than ever to navigate these times of uncertainty.

“And unfortunately, that is the theme for both the global and domestic economic outlook – uncertainty,” Pawson said.

“If anyone tells you PNG is behind the rest of the world when it comes to banking, tell them to think again. Kina is proudly committed to bringing the best of international banking practices and technology to our shores.

“As we move into 2024, expansion and growth of our services remains a key focus.”

The International Monetary Fund has projected steady global growth at 3.1 percent for this year, consolidating at 3.2 per cent in 2025.

Pawson said while this was still relatively good news, this was still below global growth rate levels that averaged almost 4 percent in the years preceding the Coronavirus pandemic.

“And while we are still recovering from Covid-19, four years on. It will take time and tangible economic reforms to get growth up to pre-pandemic levels.

“The major reason for this challenge is the volatile energy costs and supply-chain disruptions, which PNG is not immune to. 

While the PNG’s fiscal budget may benefit from a windfall in revenue from high commodity prices, unfortunately translating this into tangible outcomes by addressing costs of doing business at the micro level which continues to be our biggest challenge.”

He said inflation really hit PNG hard last year.

“While official inflation statistics are hard to come by on a regular basis, we observed that the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission’s monthly regulated fuel cap pricing increased by 26 per cent over the past seven months.

“But despite the challenges, we’re still optimistic of the great potential of PNG, and will continue to do so from our position.

“While it’s not all roses and sunshine, the Prime Minister and the banking sector have been constructively discussing separately some of the obstacles we are facing. “However, it goes without saying that with the collective support and encouragement from the Government, public and private sectors, hopefully together it really is possible,” Pawson said.