He expressed this sentiment at the 44th Independence dinner on the evening of September 16th outside the House of Parliament.
The 44th Independence dinner, or the Prime Minister’s dinner, was a first of its kind that saw executives of corporate bodies, heads of missions and commissions as well as Members of Parliament in attendance.
Prime Minister James Marape said the main objective of the event was to acknowledge and commend the private sector, as well as establish a rapport.
“You’ve shared in our pains and you’ve also shared in the joys of our nation,” he stated. “Whether you’ve served as private companies or head of missions or in the bank business, you have been part of our story for the last 44 years. And we don’t wish you to leave our shores. We want you to be part of our story for the next 44 years and beyond.
“For the horizon beyond looks very good. At the back of the PNG LNG project in 2008 and 2009 that we allowed to go off, our economy was able to double in size.
“Our conversation with industries is not to harm you or to chase you but to ensure that together we can build a safe PNG which your business address can be more secure going into the future.”
Finding the right formula to uplift citizens’ livelihood as well as ensuring that businesses are functioning with less impediments are the main focus of the Marape-Steven Government.
“My aim as Prime Minister of this country in the next 10 years, we want to work consistently to diversify the base of our economy and to increase the tax net so that not only those of you who pay tax will continue labouring for the country but we are sharing the responsibility and diversifying the tax base, expanded tax base, where all, or if not majority of our citizens are participating in businesses that they can participate in. And we all share in the workload to carry this country going forward.”
Meantime, ABG President John Momis and his wife also graced the inaugural dinner with their presence, including executives of the Motu-Koitabu Assembly as well as prominent PNG artists.
Prime Minister Marape says he hopes it becomes a culture where at the end of every September 16th commemoration, a dinner is held to conclude the evening with business executives and invited dignitaries.