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PNG Businesses urged to fight corruption

Global chairman of Transparency International, Jose Ugaz, at a breakfast with the Port Moresby business community earlier this week, highlighted the need for more cooperation between business entities and civil society agencies in combating the issue of corruption in PNG.

“There has traditionally been a tension between anti-corruption activist organisations and the business sector.”

I think that there has been a lack of trust, but we have learnt that if we don’t work with the business sector, our efforts to tackle corruption in the country will be very modest,” said Ugaz.

Ugaz highlighted that the two communities needed to work together as corruption was not only affecting the daily lives of the people, but has also proven to have debilitating effects on a free market.

He encouraged commercial entities to incorporate integrity into their businesses and take a stand against the extortion of businesses by government officials.

“If you want to be profitable in the mid to long term, you need to include integrity in your business plan.

Integrity is key for business…we have a social responsibility to protect and promote a free market,” he said.
Ugaz reminded companies of the risks of getting involved with illicit practices and how these could greatly affect the sustainability and longevity of the company.

“Integrity is a good idea for business because if you get into corrupt practices, it is quite risky. If you live in an environment with a lot of impunity, nothing will happen in the long term, but you know that in our countries, things change very easily,” said Ugaz.

“To build a reputation and to build a market can take decades.

“It takes a lot of time to build a good company with a good strong brand that is respected and trusted by the public, but you can lose that in 15 seconds,” he said.

According to the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index of 2016, Papua New Guinea now ranks at 136 out of 176 countries in the world.

PNG shares this ranking with Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Myanmar and Nigeria, landing it among the top 40 most corrupt countries in the world.

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