On Wednesday afternoon Councillor Belinda Edwards officiated on behalf of the Lae Chamber of Commerce at a special session of the Taxation Review meeting Chaired by Sir Nagora Bogan CBE, for the Lae Chamber of Commerce members.
Belinda said the meeting was good, particularly as it was a small group of 11 members who met the Committee. The attending Committee members included three previous Commissioner of Taxes being Sir Nagora Bogan, David Sode and John Lohberger as well as lawyer Ian Prentice and DFAT employee Lucas Rutherford. Our Members included but were not limited to Morobe Mining JV, Majestic Seafood, Lae International Hotel and ourselves. We were all seated at one table and that worked well in generating discussion. The small number was due mainly to a conflict with the National Airport Corporation presentation that was held at the same time, as well as the fact that a number of LCCI members, turned up for the public session in the morning, where the numbers reached 100.
Click here for a fact sheet for an overview of what the review committee are doing. Sir Nagora chaired the meeting and led most of the discussion:
- Terms of Reference for the Review – this includes a subset of 9 projects; corporate tax and personal tax; GST, Excise & tariffs, import duties; administration of tax collection and the service to taxpayers provided by the IRC; non tax areas including land rates
- Engagement with the public through advertising has had a good response; issue papers have been developed; the issue paper on corporate tax is expected to be finished by mid-June; final report on the review due in October; website is operational but still been developed.
- Nagora acknowledged the heavy reliance on corporate & personal tax noting that it represents approximately 70% of taxes collected.
- Deloitte’s is currently doing a review on the efficiency & effectiveness of the IRC, PWC is currently doing a review on the efficiency & effectiveness of Customs.
- MMJV raised several issues including the lack of enforcement for non-compliance, tax incentives, training levies and splitting tax for FIFO employees.
- Our main bugbear (and it was certainly the most raised issue during the afternoon) was the lack of resources/administration within IRC and their inability to affectively do what they are meant to, e.g. penalties for late payments when cheques had been lost at IRC.
- Nagora spoke about the audit department (it is no longer functioning) and the potential to have this area outsourced • The review of incentives including the training levy will be done with Vision 2050 in mind.
- Nagora advised that both IRC & Customs are currently not accountable to anyone, David Sode’s suggestion is for a board or ombudsman to oversee these areas.
- Nagora finished by encouraging members and the public to visit the website and forward any issues to the committee www.taxreview.gov.pg or you can email Cassie on firstname.lastname@example.org
Belinda thanked Sir Nagora and the Committee on behalf of the Chamber.
NATIONAL AIRLINES CORPORATION MEETING ON THE REHABILITATION OF NADZAB AIRPORT
Mr Roy Peni of the National Airports Corporation (NAC) arranged a gathering of LCCI Members at the LIH on Wednesday afternoon as well, to discuss the Rehabilitation of Nadzab Airport. NAC have engaged the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to do a full Feasibility study for this rehabilitation. In preparation JICA have requested a survey form be completed and returned to them, so they can gather basic facts as a starting point for this study. Click here for the survey.
This is the second in a series of discussions with between the LCCI and NAC (including JICA representatives). The first was about 18 months ago, when JICA was doing a pre-feasibility for the NADZAB rehabilitation.
JICA have now engaged a joint venture team of Japanese Airport Planners – Team Leader Teruo Hanada of Japan Airport Consultants Inc. and Hidetoshi Sugiura from Oriental Consultants. These gentlemen explained to the 30 LCCI representatives at Wednesdays meeting, the scope of the venture and the likelihood that it would take at least 8 years to fund and commence the work on the construction work at NADZAB. The LCCI members in turn raised pertinent points regarding the facilities at Nadzab from their perspective.
As I recall the Prime Ministers own words last year, that after the Lae Nadzab Road the Nadzab Airport would be redeveloped. I had hoped that funding was in place, and I therefore was taken aback by the statement that funding would take so long to eventuate. This will be taken up with the NAC Management at a meeting arranged for next week. In the meantime, it is important that as many interested people as possible, complete the survey attached to this newsletter, and forward it to the JICA team.