(Reuters) – Coca-Cola has mastered the business of getting its sweet, fizzy drinks into even the most isolated of Papua New Guinea’s far-flung tropical islands and mountain villages.
But getting the proceeds out of the South Pacific nation is proving much more troublesome, undermining efforts by the host of this month’s APEC meeting to portray itself as an attractive destination for international investment.
Coca-Cola - Amatil - Coke - Region - PNG
Australian-listed Coca-Cola Amatil, which distributes Coke in the region, recently disclosed it was holding more of PNG’s kina currency than it wanted due to foreign exchange restraints, a complaint echoed by other big businesses.
The restrictions, used to prop up the kina by fixing its value in a narrow band, have created a shortage of dollars and a weeks-long queue to buy them. That is stifling business investment and with it, the country’s economic prospects, business leaders say.
Customers - Impediment - Growth - Business - Robin
“For most customers, it has provided an impediment to the growth of their business,” said Robin Fleming, Chief Executive of Bank South Pacific, PNG’s biggest commercial bank and largest foreign exchange dealer.
“It’s really strained some of those relationships with their suppliers overseas,” he said on the phone from his office in the dusty seaside capital, Port Moresby.
Port - Moresby - Venue - Month - Asia
Port Moresby is the venue for this month’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit of world leaders and PNG is hoping to use the high-profile event to showcase the nation and its investment credentials.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said earlier this year that after APEC, “everyone will remember where Papua New Guinea is” and not confuse it with an African country.
Papua - New - Guinea - Economies - Pacific
Papua New Guinea has one of the largest economies in the Pacific Islands region, backed by mining, timber, fishing and huge energy reserves.
Riding booming commodity prices, the kina touched as high as $0.47 in 2013 but fell as low as $0.33 the following year when the oil price...
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