Monday, August 16, 2010

Millions 'lost' in cross border trade



MORE than K40 million has been taken across the PNG-Indonesia land border in West Sepik over the years, Customs and PNG Defence Force personnel in Vanimo have revealed, The National reports.

The amount could be higher because of the many illegal trade activities taking place in the border crossing areas, they said.

The government officers estimated that about K1.8 million was transacted between Indonesian vendors and PNG buyers every day around the border town of Wutung and the trading post of Skoow in Indonesia.

Many Papua New Guineans, from Vanimo and surrounding villages, flocked to the trade centre to buy cheap Indonesian food and household goods, clothes and electrical goods.

The trading has resulted in Vanimo running low on cash and many businesses in town were closing because they could not compete with the cheap Indonesian products being sold.

They said in order to plug the leak, the BSP Vanimo branch was only allowing a maximum withdrawal of K100 a day so that the cash flow was maintained.

The officers, who wanted to remain anonymous, said a lot

of people were also entering

the country undetected and many illegal activities also took place undetected.

The officers said the border could be better monitored if they had more manpower and improved living and working conditions.

Meanwhile, Bulolo MP Sam Basil, who was in Vanimo over the weekend, said the free trade on the border should be controlled, adding that the government should regulate the free trade along the border so that such a big flow of cash did not get across the border undetected.

Basil also encouraged the people to study the Asian way of running businesses so that they could be as competitive as their Indonesian counterparts.

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