This was stressed by the prime minister’s wife Linda Babao in a remark at a fundraising breakfast sponsored by the PNG Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Babao said: “Women lack the basic knowledge in bookkeeping, budgeting, pricing, marketing, product development and means of finding information or help in starting or expanding a business.
She noted that until now, the women in PNG have remained untapped as a human resource.
Babao said the opportunities for local women were endless.
“We have not tapped into new industries such as tourism and agriculture as what other countries did.
“There are barriers that still need to be overcome, particularly for our women.”
Babao said PNG was experiencing exceptional economic growth with new investment in communication, construction, real estate and LNG investment.
She said with this, PNG women should be equal participants in these industries.
“We celebrated many women who are rising to the ranks of their professions; women have become ministers and a governor.
“We have seen women entrepreneurs thrive and given recognition.
“However, there are still many women who are yet to make their dreams to become financially independent a reality.
Comparing business to babies, Babaosaid they needed to be fed and nurtured for them to grow.
She said with the lack of knowledge, low self-esteem took over, which further hindered confidence in negotiating and seeking help in putting up a business enterprise.
Babao said getting access to funds was another hurdle.
She said banks were requiring prospective women borrowers to put up properties to secure loans.
“This is difficult for husbands and wives who are not formally employed and it is more difficult for widows and single women.
“Although women are more likely to pay their loans, the possibility that they will not be able to repay are largely due to over-spending and wantok pressure for money.
“This continues to pose a threat to other women wanting to obtain loans.
Babao said the principles of lending, saving and interest rates have had remained foreign to most of them.
Port Moresby (The National)