Maru attended the APEC Business Advisory Committee’s (ABAC) Micro, Small to Medium Entrepreneur (MSME) and Innovation Summit this week on behalf of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
Mr Maru said that MSME were instrumental to economic growth and have contributed to providing food and shelter for millions of Papua New Guineans.
“The Government is focusing on inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
“We will focus on our non-extractive sector, and grow our tourism business, fisheries, forestry and agriculture… we cannot continue to ride on the boom-and-bust commodity price cycle we have experienced over the last 40 years,” he said.
Mr Maru said while the Government was investing in SMEs and other growth sectors, he noted that the biggest challenge was the high level of unemployment among the younger generation.
“Eighty per cent of our Grade 12 graduates are unemployed without opportunities for further studies.
“This is the group of Papua New Guineans with the energy and the drive and we need to empower them to get them into business,” said Mr Maru.
He said the Government has a business plan to build four regional youth business incubation centres where young people would be trained to go directly into doing business.
The Minister said as an of APEC member, PNG needed to work hard and be innovative in achieving its goals as a Government and the MSME sector is moving forward and embracing new opportunities.