Showing posts with label Labour and Employment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Labour and Employment. Show all posts

Unemployment in PNG A Worsening Crisis

Papua New Guinea (PNG), a nation known for its rich natural resources, is facing a pressing problem: unemployment. Nipa-Kutubu MP Dr. Billy Joseph recently brought attention to the alarming rate of joblessness in the country during a parliamentary debate. He expressed concern over job security, particularly regarding work that foreigners are undertaking, which could easily be performed by PNG nationals. 

This article critically analyses the parliamentary debate on the unemployment issue and provides productive feedback, emphasising the need for immediate action.

The Unemployment Crisis in PNG

The lack of sufficient job opportunities has become a severe crisis in PNG. With a growing population and a high rate of youth unemployment, the country is grappling with significant socio-economic challenges. 

Job scarcity not only affects the livelihoods of individuals but also hinders the overall development and progress of the nation.

umemplyment in png - png jobs - foreign jobs in png

Government's Strategy and Response

In response to Dr. Billy Joseph's concerns, the Minister for Labour & Employment Kessy Sawang, asserted that the government is actively addressing the unemployment issue.

The government's primary strategy involves creating jobs through the construction of upcoming infrastructure and projects in the mineral resource sector. These initiatives aim to stimulate economic growth and boost employment prospects.

The government's ambitious plan to create a million jobs by 2027 sounds promising, but its execution and effectiveness need closer examination. While such plans can be visionary, they must be accompanied by practical steps and careful consideration of the sectors in which job creation is most feasible.

Foreign Workers in PNG

A significant concern raised during the parliamentary debate was the presence of foreign workers occupying jobs that could be done by PNG nationals. 

Approximately 41,000 jobs are reportedly held by foreigners, limiting employment opportunities for locals. 

The government must ensure that PNG citizens have access to job opportunities within their own country.

Productive Feedback and Immediate Actions Needed

While the government's commitment to job creation is commendable, more concrete and targeted measures are required to tackle the unemployment crisis effectively. 

Here are some productive feedback and immediate actions that should be considered:

1. Skill Development and Training Programs: The government should invest in skill development and training programs to enhance the employability of PNG nationals. By aligning training with the needs of various industries, individuals can acquire the skills demanded in the job market.

2. Promote Local Entrepreneurship: Supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses can generate employment opportunities. The government should create an enabling environment for startups and provide them with the necessary support, such as access to funding and business mentorship. The concept used Women in Business in PNG concept and National Development Bank (NDB) can be adopted in this situation to make it work for the Youth and Unemployed.

3. Review Foreign Worker Policies: The government needs to review its policies on foreign workers to strike a balance between providing opportunities for skilled migrants and safeguarding the interests of PNG citizens

4. Invest in Key Sectors: Identifying key sectors with high growth potential and directing resources toward them can boost job creation. Industries like agriculture, tourism, and renewable energy hold immense potential for employment generation.

5. Encourage Private Sector Participation: The government should work in collaboration with the private sector to foster job growth. Incentives for businesses that create employment opportunities for PNG citizens can be beneficial.

6. Revamp Infrastructure Development: Expedite infrastructure projects to create immediate job opportunities. Such projects not only generate employment during construction but also contribute to the nation's long-term development.

Unemployment: The Government's Inaction

Unemployment is a pressing issue that requires urgent attention from the PNG government.  While the government's commitment to creating a million jobs by 2027 is promising, it must be accompanied by practical strategies, investments in skill development, and a focus on key sectors. 

Measures to address foreign worker policies and promote local entrepreneurship can play a vital role in tackling the unemployment issue effectively. 

The PNG government can take significant strides towards alleviating unemployment and fostering sustainable economic growth for the people IF IT STARTS TAKING THE BULL BY THE HORN, NOW!

Unemployment in PNG 2023 Update: Causes, Effects, and Statistics

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a country with abundant natural resources and a diverse culture. Despite its rich resources, the country faces high unemployment rates that have become a significant concern. 

This article explores the unemployment situation in PNG, including the causes, effects, and statistics related to unemployment in the country.

Unemployment in PNG 2023 Update: Causes, Effects, and Statistics

What is the unemployment rate in PNG?

The unemployment rate in PNG has been on the rise in recent years. However, PNG statistical office does not have the latest (and up-to-date) facts and figures.

According to Trading Economics, the unemployment rate in PNG was at 4.87% in 2019, which increased to 7.12% in 2020. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic downturn have contributed to this increase in unemployment rates.

What are the causes of unemployment in PNG?

  • Lack of economic opportunities in the country: There are several causes of unemployment in PNG. One of the primary reasons is the need for more economic opportunities in the country. The country heavily relies on extractive industries, such as mining and logging, which do not provide enough jobs to meet the demand. Additionally, PNG has a limited market, which makes it difficult for businesses to expand and create more job opportunities.

  • Lack of education and skills training: Another cause of unemployment in PNG is the lack of education and skills training. The education system in PNG is underdeveloped. Many people do not have access to education or vocational training, which limits their job opportunities. Furthermore, the country faces a high rate of youth unemployment due to the lack of job opportunities and a mismatch between the skills of young people and the demands of the labour market.

How many people are unemployed in Papua New Guinea?

The number of unemployed people in PNG is a significant concern. According to Macrotrends, the number of unemployed people in PNG was 238,000 in 2020. This figure includes both the unemployed and those who are underemployed or working in part-time jobs.

In a recent article, the Post Courier article highlighted the high unemployment rate in the NCD, which was reported to be over 20% of the city's population, according to the National Statistical Office. The article cited a lack of job opportunities and skills training as major factors contributing to the problem, and calls for urgent action to address the issue.

What is the female unemployment rate in Papua New Guinea?

The female unemployment rate in PNG is higher than the male unemployment rate.

According to PNG National Research Institute (PNG NRI), the female unemployment rate was at 10% in 2019, which is significantly higher than the male unemployment rate of 6.2%. 

This is due to several factors, including gender inequality, lack of education and skills training, and the cultural bias that favours men over women.

Examples and facts about unemployment in PNG

PNG NRI has reported that the youth unemployment rate in PNG is high, with approximately 17% of young people aged between 15-24 years being unemployed. This is a concern, given that young people make up a significant portion of the population in PNG. 

The report also highlights that the lack of job opportunities for young people is a major concern, as it can lead to social unrest and increased crime rates.

In another report by ABC News, it is revealed that the youth unemployment crisis in PNG has been exacerbated by the booming youth population in the country. 

The report states that the number of young people in PNG is expected to double by 2040, which highlights the urgency of addressing the youth unemployment issue.


Unemployment in PNG remains a significant concern, with high rates of youth and female unemployment. 

The lack of economic opportunities and education and skills training are among the primary causes of unemployment in the country. 

It is crucial for the government and other stakeholders to address these issues and create more job opportunities for the people of PNG. By doing so, the country can harness its vast resources and create a prosperous future for all.

NCSL Online Portal Effective Way to Check Balance and Loan Eligibility

If you are a member of the NASFUND Contributors Savings & Loans Society, the NCSL Online Portal (also called the NCSL member portal) is useful.

ncsl online login
You can access online services like checking balance or loan and savings withdrawal eligibility; submitting online loan or withdrawal applications; and getting member statements. 

The services can be accessed via mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

  • An updated version of the NCSL online portal can be found on
  • You can also find information on Poro Card here
  • To learn about how to invest in PNG Shares and Bonds, click here

So if you are already a registered member, you may be familiar with the benefits of using the portal. If you are a member of NCSL but have not registered yet on NCSL online portal, here are the helpful tips to help you register. 

Go to the registration page. 

  • Step-1: The NCSL members new to the portal are required to have membership numbers and dates of birth to complete step one of the registration process. These details are important to register. If you forget about the membership details, immediately contact NCSL at or call 313 2000.
  • Step-2: Input your required personal/member details. Be realistic about the membership details you are entering – the details must be factual and current.
  • Step-3: The final step is to confirm your registration. This step requires members to have an email account. Always have - in addition to other membership details – your personal email account ready before starting the registration on the NCSL Online Portal.

Enter your member details and follow the prompt.

NCSL check balance

In summary here are the important registration requirements to make registration flow smoothly…

- Email account (google mail or yahoo etc)
- Membership number
- Date of birth

The staff at NCSL will be happy to help any contributor so get in touch. If you need more clarification, visit the nearest NCSL office in your region. 

Do you have accounts with Nasfund, Kina Bank, BSP or into POM stock exchange? Check out the latest Financial News, Savings and Loans, and Superannuation updates on PNG Insight.

How to check your NASFUND balance 

Find out how to check you NASFUND balance using mobile phone, click here

Jobs in PNG: An Observation on Immigrants, Opportunity and Development In Papua New Guinea

I have been thinking about the different people who have visited, lived and worked and called PNG home. Many foreigners arriving in PNG (Immigrants) either are married into PNG or have white-collar jobs, but there are five (5) groups who fall outside this description. These groups were (are) influential in developing the country during the post and pre-independence era, even to this day. Actively creating jobs in PNG.

Jobs in PNG and Observation on Immigration and Development

I was born 4 years after PNG gained independence. That meant that I grew up with relatives who have seen the early stages of development through their own eyes. Many stories I’ve heard: 
  • missionaries making the first contact, teasing people with salt and introducing to the Good News; 
  • Tultul and Luluais encouraging people to use digging sticks to build roads or getting them together for patrol officer’s visits; 
  • young men employed to work at the Bougainville Copper Mine; 
  • Highlanders and Sepiks recruited to go to the New Britain provinces to plant cocoa, coconut or oil palm; 
  • companies like the Dillingham Brothers cutting their way through the inaccessible highlands provinces; 
  • the gaining of independence itself; and many other good-old fore stories. 
The Jobs back in the early 1960s were for PNG locals. Expatriates were trainers and mentors. 

Just before I turned seven, I’ve seen Australian and New Zealand contractors (like the Transet Contractor and Paragon) building roads into places like Okapa in the Eastern Highlands and Gumini-Salt Nomane in Simbu provinces and other parts of the country. Apart from all national workers, several of them were senior Philippines tradesmen who were very influential imparting skills to new PNG apprentices.

Then, I went to schools – community school, high school, secondary school and university. Many expatriate volunteers and missionaries have been a big part of developing the young men and women of this country, and create jobs in PNG.

Perhaps it is important to know that the foreigners, especially missionaries, have given their lives to help develop PNG. Meanwhile, sharing their expertise and skills with locals.

Another group that came into the country following independence was skilled people and expert expatriates entering the country as contractors and entrepreneurs. They were highly educated and experienced people who saw opportunities. Their aim was business.

So, let me put in perspective how each group contributed insofar as providing services, employing and educating Papua New Guineans is concerned.  I think the idea is to give meaning to immigration (the movement of outsiders into Papua New Guinea) and the impact their skills and knowledge has had on people associated with them and creating PNG jobs.

1.       Missionaries – Good News, health and education

Spreading the stories in the Old and New Testaments were their main goal. But as missionaries entered remote places, there was a need to learn local languages. Learning local languages was (and is) challenging. Almost every other village has a distinct language. So missionaries either learn several languages at the same time or introduce new language – so, there was the need for education.

Apparently, infant mortality and death due to infections would have been high then, as it is now. Many denominations, in addition to their primary role of spreading the love of God, would have seen it as their other responsibility to provide needed health care.

Today, many Papua New Guineans have relied heavily on education and health services provided by missions of different denominations. Among the leading churches are the Catholic Church, Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist, New Tribes Mission, United Church and Baptist Church. Their mission is to faithfully spread the word of God. In doing so, they will continue to provide the much-needed health, education and humanitarian services in places where government services are lacking.

2.       Colonial administration era – colonialism and agriculture

This group of people have long gone, their era only remains in the memory of many. But, remnants of that time can be seen from coffee plantations in the highlands to cocoa and copra plantations in the coastal areas.

One of the lessons we could learn was the heightened interest in agriculture. It is important to note that apart from many things going on, the colonial era was also a time when huge portions of land have been developed for agricultural purposes. A significant milestone in agriculture shift in the country, from subsistence gardening to crop for cash.

3.       Independence buzz – Educators, health Workers, planters and contractors

The mid-seventies the to late eighties had seen a wave of human resource and physical infrastructural development. Many Papua New Guineans went to universities. Others continued onto trade courses, secretarial studies, seminaries and other colleges. PNG’s human resource growth was, to some extent, at par with developments that had been happening at that time.

There were lots of foreign contractors in the resource sector, many involved with infrastructure development around the country. Some of them working in road constructions, partnering with the National Department of Works (NDoW). They cut roads into areas never accessible by road vehicles in the past. It was a real-time for both human resource and national development. 

One group of Papua New Guineans still remained the forgotten generation to this day. Many of them have settled in new places. These were the volunteers from the Highlands and Sepik provinces who were enlisted for oil palm developments in West New Britain. My grandpa, who had actually returned home, told me that they were taken to Kimbe and Bialla where they were then given three hectares of registered land to grow oil palm.

Enviously, that was also a time when Kina was strong against Dollar. You could buy Ox and Palm for just K1.00, or a carton of beer for K10, or a Wopa biscuit or packet of cigarette for just 20 toea! People were not paid a lot, but what they earned could buy them a lot more than today with some to save. It was a real buzz.

During that time, there was a pocket of expatriates, especially Australians who took PNG at heart. They were the ones who had (have) lived here calling PNG home. From missionaries to government officers, educators and health workers. They loved PNG. Many of their children and grandchildren are Papua New Guineans.

4.       Entrepreneurs – business and opportunities

The country's purse is never empty. Money from natural resources and minerals, especially gold and copper from developed mines like Panguna, OK Tedi, Pogera, Misima, Lihir and other mines in the country had replenished the purse every year. Tax revenue had increased as many people earned and spent.

So, eventually, many outsiders have seen the opportunities available in the country. There was this wave of temporary immigrants who came into PNG:  setting up law firms, technology companies, medical hospitals, logging companies, retail shops, hotels, etc.

Many of them can speak fluent Tok Pisin. They mingle easily with the people. They also call PNG home. But, they came for business – one leg in, the other out. They set up business in PNG but resided overseas. They were very successful and well known in their own rights. They contributed massively to developing PNG and creating PNG jobs.

5.       Opportunity Seekers – recent entry

This group of immigrants came recently when the country saw unprecedented growth in the economy. Money circulating within the country was a pull factor for many other outsiders to make quick bucks. The frenzy of infrastructure development happening since 2013 and oil and gas developments had added fuel to fire. For example, with Chinese companies winning big contracts, they brought in Chinese workers who took up the opportunities otherwise would have been available to Papua New Guineans. Unlike Independence Buzz, this immigration wasn’t about development. It was purely business, self-enrichment and it happened quickly.  

Perhaps, this movement was more organised than the others. What happened was that well-established business preferred to use their own workforce. By this I mean these companies were employing their own kind, placing them in jobs that could be easily done by Papua New Guineans. Obviously, the 12-doors chain of stores in Lae and other parts of the country was a typical example, including the road and building construction companies in Lae and Moresby.

Another sub-set of this group was outsiders looking to Australia as their final destination. However, bureaucracy may not have allowed them to get in to Australia. Many possibly have families and friends living there. They remained in PNG and took-up jobs, some married to locals making PNG transit home. It could only be a matter of time before they would have the opportunity to make it to their Promised Land.

Here is where a line can be drawn: many outsiders have contributed, within their capacity, to imparting skills and knowledge to young Papua New Guineans. In turn, they are (were) making a living, bettering themselves and contributing to national development. On the contrary, it is clear that the more the other immigrants concentrate their businesses within themselves, the less there are training and jobs for ordinary Papua New Guineans.

Minimum Wage: Have Companies And Businesses Ignored 2014 Increase of K1.00 For Low Income Earners?

 Minimum Wage was raised from K2.20 to K3.20 in 2014. The increase was recommended by Employers Federation and Salary Commission and endorsed by a Parliamentary Working Committee on wages and salaries. Every employer must comply with the parliamentary directive as of 2014.  

There is also little known about employees’ benefits and how those benefits tie in with minimum wages. Unless employees are made aware of this by their employers, there is no reason why employees would get less than recommended minimum wage or salary.

If you are an adult, working fulltime (or Part-time) and know that you are among the minimum wage earners you should make sure that your hourly pay is NOT less than K3.20. Here is a table to help you.

In 2014 the Employers Federation and Salary Commission (EF&SC) conducted a 7-month investigation into wages and salaries of middle (to low) income earners in Papua New Guinea. They made several recommendations. One of the recommendations was to increase the minimum wage from K2.20 to K3.20

The EF&SC (who made the recommendation) or Employers Federation of Papua New Guinea (EFoPNG – who are supposed to inspect and ensure minimum wage is paid to workers) came out trumpeting that the increase must be complied with ‘immediately’ at the time of the announcement. 

Question of ‘compliance’ must be answered clearly. This can be done by government organisations responsible for ensuring workers are paid what they deserved. Right now there is a need to determine if companies have complied with government’s directive. But, who is going to do it?

If the Workers’ Union president is looking for something better to do, here is one thing he can do: call on EFoPNG to do its job. The employers’ federation has 22 inspectors stationed in every province. Have they done what they are supposed to do yet? 

What is the Department of Internal Revenue and Taxation done to make sure the K1.00 increase is paid to the low income earners? Their audit has to show how many minimum wage earners are employed by each company and how much they are paying them. 

Statutory organisations, who are supposed to put the interest of low income earners first, have got to do their jobs and continue to do it right. Companies and businesses who have not complied with the Minimum Wage increase must be reminded to remain true to their workers – pay them accordingly.  

Organisations like the Workers Union, Employers Federation of Papua New Guinea, Employers Federation and Salary Commission, Internal Revenue Commission and Department of Internal Revenue and Taxation MUST do what is right. 

It would be criminal – it is criminal, on both the government organisations and companies, if they failed to enforce the new minimum wage or failed to comply with it. Responsible authorities must follow up and ensure the minimum wage (K3.20) set in 2014 is paid to every eligible earner in the country. 




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