Wednesday, October 01, 2008

SBDC finally has a board in place

The Small Business Development Corporation finally has in place a new board after being without one since November 2006.

This means the SBDC can now offset its other problem of being without a managing director which has also beset it since November 2006

The board was sworn in at a ceremony at the Country Club in Port Moresby on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 witnessed by Commerce & Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris, senior department staff, family members and SBDC staff.

Businessman Michael Mell heads the new board which comprises of his deputy and prominent women leader and businesswomen Janet Sape as deputy chairperson, Michael Koka Roysa (financial institutions), Alois Makeng (Momase small business), Peter Iggy (Highlands small business), Andrew Pakila (Islands small business), Department of Commerce & Industry secretary Anton Kulit (ex-officio) and Finance Secretary Gabriel Yer (ex-officio).

Mr Kapris said the government continued to give prominence to SBDC as a lead agency in the promotion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) despite that challenges it had undergone over the last two years without a board and managing director.

“Nevertheless, SBDC, like any other organisation, has its own share of challenges, opportunities and constraints which hamper the smooth and efficient execution of its responsibilities, and one such problem was the non-existence of a board and permanent managing director,” he said.

“The organisation was operating without a proper board and managing director for the last 20 months.

“The previous board’s term expired on December 1, 2006, and the managing director’s contract expired on November 14, 2006.”

Mr Kapris said attempts were made to have a new board in place in 2007 but former minister Paul Tiensten was restricted by the process of enactment of the Regulatory Statutory Authority (RSA) Act of 2004 and other significant events that year including the 2007 elections.

“The prolonged delay in appointing the SBDC board and managing director proper has seen a decline in staff morale and the smooth daily operation of the corporation, and as minister responsible for all commercial statutory authorities under my ministry including SBDC, would not like to see the corporation continue encountering problems,” he said.

“In the absence of a duly-appointed board, the caretaker managing director (Diri Kobla) was brought from Department of Commerce & Industry to instill discipline and all forms of control and bring back normalcy in the administration and operation of SBDC.

“He was further instructed to fast track the process under both acts of SBDC Act and RSA Act 2004 to forward a list of nominees representing various regions and institutions, public and private, for the board.”

Caretaker managing director Mr Kobla expressed confidence the appointment of a new managing director would now be deliberated on by the new board.

New chairman Mr Mell described SBDC as a “sleeping giant” which needed to be awoken.

“Why I use the phrase ‘sleeping giant’ is because SBDC can achieve more, take a positive, leading role in assisting the expansion and establishment of new SMEs, especially in the rural areas,” he said.

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