Caption: Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal and Rimbunan Hijau Group executive chairman Tan Sri Sir Tiong Hiew King cutting the ribbon to officially open the Vision City Mega Mall last Friday. Accompanying them are (from right) RH PNG managing director James Lau, Steven Rockefeller and RH PNG executive director Ivan Lu.
RH setting the trend with Vision City, says acting PM
By JULIA DAIA BORE
ACTING Prime Minister Sam Abal has welcomed foreign investment but has called on these investors to ensure that they abide by the laws of Papua New Guinea, The National reports.
He made this call last Friday evening during the official opening of the state-of-the-art Vision City Mega Mall in NCD's Central Waigani.
The occasion coincided with the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Rimbunan Hijau Group's (RH) presence in PNG.
Abal congratulated RH's presence, saying that when PNG was going through the economic down-turn due to the world's economic recession, RH had faith in PNG and had stayed, investing and diversifying into all sectors of business venture.
He also acknowledged RH for providing employment to the people of PNG.
But most of all, RH had contributed to the economic and infrastructure development.
The Vision City Mega Mall was such an example, he added.
The acting PM described the Vision City Mega Mall as being "as good as any shopping mall in Cairns, Australia, or anywhere, for that matter".
Abal said: "Congratulation to RH for your day today; for the past 20 years of being here, congratulations, to you and all your hard working staff of RH."
The RH Group of companies executive chairman and executive director Tan Sri Sir Tiong Hiew King, who arrived in Port Moresby from Malaysia for the occasion, told guests at the official dinner marking the two occasions that the RH Group had to date provided employment for about 7,500 Papua New Guineans.
The RH Group has made significant economic contributions totalling K1.65 billion to date in the form of contributions, through and including payments of wages, salary tax, premiums and levies, royalties, export duties, corporate tax, NPF payments and infrastructure contributions.
Sir Tiong said new international hotel apartments and modern office space would also be part of Vision City but, most importantly, Vision City would provide employment and growth.
More than 5,000 people would be employed by the project, he said, adding that the mega mall would generate more than K200 million in economic activities annually.
"Vision City is a long-term investment that shows Rimbunan Hijau is committed to economic growth in PNG," Sir Tiong said.
During the unveiling of the plaque to mark the official opening, RH PNG Group managing director James Lau thanked the Sir Michael Somare-led government for providing the stability necessary to support these developments.
He particularly thanked Abal for his presence at the grand opening, saying: "This is a proud moment for PNG.
"Guided by the government of PM Sir Michael Somare, PNG has experienced strong investment and economic growth in recent years.
"Employment figures have been strong; investment from home and abroad is increasing.
"The government has provided the stability necessary to support these developments.
"Vision City represents an important milestone in our group's venture in the retail and property development industries in PNG.
"It is one of the most ambitious development projects in the South Pacific," he said, announcing that the new 18-storey international hotel, apartments and office space were being planned to be built soon.
"Once completed, Vision City is a sustainable business model that will provide employments growth," Lau said, adding it was a sign of continuing confidence in the government and RH would continue to conduct business and to deliver and to promote development and investment.
RH's involvement in PNG began with forestry for which it was a leader in the country; and later ventured into agriculture (oil palm), retail, property development, media and agriculture.
It is also involved in transport infrastructure such as roads and bridges.