The National Government is committed to supporting businesses affected by the regrettable events of January 10th, which resulted in looting and widespread destruction of properties.

Today, on April 5th 2024, marks the initiation of our relief efforts as we disburse the first instalment of financial assistance to City Pharmacy Limited (CPL), one of the severely impacted businesses, to kickstart our wage support program.

This program aims to bolster affected businesses and safeguard jobs in the aftermath of the looting and property destruction that occurred in Port Moresby on Wednesday, January 10th, 2024.

CPL, a prominent player in PNG’s retail sector, is the first recipient of financial assistance under the employee wages support program.

Chief Secretary to Government, Ivan Pomaleu, reiterated the government’s commitment to provide relief to affected businesses, beginning with the implementation of employee wage support program.

“As promised following the unfortunate events of January 10th, our government is standing in solidarity with the business community. The initiation of the employee wage support program demonstrates our dedication to ensuring that affected workers can sustain themselves and their families during this trying period,” stated Chief Secretary Pomaleu.

“This marks the initial step of our broader commitment to support and rebuild our cherished businesses. The employee wage support program recognizes the pivotal role of businesses in our economy and seeks to provide them with the necessary assistance to retain their workforce amidst these unprecedented challenges.”

The employee wage support program will extend financial assistance to eligible businesses to help cover a portion of employee wages for a period of six (6) months. This assistance is designed to enable businesses to maintain their payroll, prevent layoffs, and sustain operations, particularly crucial for the residents of Port Moresby.

The Cabinet has decided to help those businesses after working on specific criteria and guidelines consistent with the government’s Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) to deliver this program because of the peculiar nature of the situation that has affected the country.

Mr Pomaleu emphasized that the disbursement of funds is executed transparently and responsibly, as they involve public funds.

Expressing gratitude for the government’s support, Sir Mahesh Patel, the founder of CPL, acknowledged the significance of the employee wage support program in facilitating the retention of employment amid the company’s rebuilding endeavors.

“The employee wage support program is indispensable for our company to uphold employment levels as we embark on our reconstruction journey, which may span up to two years. These funds will enable us to retain the majority of our employees and sustain the provision of essential services to the community,” remarked Sir Mahesh.

In response, the Business Coalition, representing affected businesses, commended the government for its prompt response and urge all eligible businesses to submit their claims for employee wage support relief through the PNG and Port Moresby Chambers of Commerce & Industry.

Looking ahead, the government’s forthcoming relief assistance will focus on assisting businesses in rebuilding properties and replenishing stolen or destroyed goods, with the Business Coalition anticipating these measures within the next two weeks.