It is difficult to draw a single set of consistent conclusions from the results of our survey. More than half of our respondents have maintained or improved financial results in the first half of 2017, particularly when compared with the prior year.
On the other hand, over a third of our respondents see profits continue to be declining, and although there are less companies taking further actions such as headcount reduction, there is not a widespread uplift in sentiment.
One thing that does seem to have come through loud and clear initially from our previous barometer survey and now from this current data is the type of action that business would like to see from government that are seen as critical to an environment conducive to growth. Unsurprisingly, improving fiscal policy, foreign currency availability, developing better capacity within the public sector and creating business friendly policies come through very strongly as a call for action. With a parliament now in place, business will be hoping that these items are on the agenda.
In our view therefore, the answer to the question “Is the tide turning for PNG business?” is a qualified one. It will take government, business, and some positive external factors working together to encourage the green shoots of growth that are out there and to build and maintain broad business confidence and growth into the future.