23 Oct 2003

PNG business leader tells government foreign workers create jobs, rather than displace locals

4:49 pm on 23 October 2003

The president of Papua New Guinea's Chamber of Commerce says foreign workers create jobs, not take them.

Michael Mayberry has criticised moves by the Department of Labour and Employment to block issuing work permits in a bid to create more jobs for citizens.

He says further investment and jobs will be lost if overseas businesses and investors go elsewhere and the government needs to change its focus.

"We think that their concentrating on the wrong issue. They are concentrating on the issue of training and localization, when their real problem is job creation. We have 5-percent of the total population employed in the formal sector and you know people are saying they want a job, and what their saying is get rid of the expatriates and they'll get a job. And we're saying how does this work"

Michael Mayberry says expatriates bring business, expert skills and investment to the country.

He says the proceedure for getting a work permit should be speeded up and simplified.