Papua New Guinea’s Foray Into E-Government Services Reduces Queues, Benefits Small Business
While the Pacific’s “telecommunications revolution” has connected more than two million people in recent years, there have been few ways to interact with Pacific governments other than in person. That is now changing: IFC is helping Papua New Guinea take the plunge into online government services by putting its business registration system online, which will make life easier for small businesses and improve transparency and access to information.
Until now, to register a business or conduct a company search, business owners had to travel to the country’s Investment Promotion Authority in the capital Port Moresby or visit agents in major town centers. With more than 80 percent of the population living in rural areas and working in subsistence-level activities such as fishing and smallholder farming, distance has been a major impediment to setting up a business. For those entering into business relationships or looking to lend or invest, it is hard to obtain ownership information on existing businesses. Now that Papua New Guinea’s business registry is online, people can easily register a business or conduct a search without having to travel long distances or join slow queues.
“The online registry is part of a plan that is going to revolutionize thinking in both government and stakeholder circles, and is going to change this country through small and medium enterprise growth,” said Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Honorable Richard Maru OBE at the launch of the registry in Port Moresby. “This new registry will give maximum opportunities for our people to participate in business endeavors and help to create a healthy, wealthy, and prosperous people and society.”
Under the new registration system, companies, associations, business groups, and business names can be registered online in just a few minutes. The system also allows people to search the registry data quickly and easily, providing easy access to company information and improving transparency.
“With the advent of mobile phones across Papua New Guinea and new solar-charging options that don’t rely on access to the electricity grid,it won’t be long until the most common way people use the online business registry is via their phone from the comfort of their own home,” said Jonathan Kirkby, IFC’s Pacific Region Senior Operations Officer, Investment Climate. “IFC and the PNG government’s Investment Promotion Authority have been working together to remove barriers for business, and online provision of the IPA’s registry services is an excellent step in the right direction.”
Visit Papua New Guinea’s new online business registry at www.ipa.gov.pg