For all practical purposes the project has been dormant over the last year. PNG went through a period of drought (the drought has since ended, but it did slow down all agricultural activity); the national economic situation is in a very bad place, and so they have failed to get any further instalments of funds from the PNG government; key staff members left; national elections in the middle of the year resulted in a period of increased political violence and disruption.
National elections in PNG around the middle of the year saw a period of violence, corruption, vote rigging and manipulation. “Last year Transparency International ranked PNG as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, putting it at 136th among 176. The nation has seven million people and 850 different language groups, and has been marred by decades of tribal conflict and instability, and endemic corruption among politicians and officials.” (Guardian report, 30 June 2017). The level of violence was such that the decision was made to suspend all trading activity until things settled down again.
Banzaid met with the Executive Leadership Team of the Baptist Union of PNG. They made the decision that despite the current situation, the BU Kofi Trading should continue operation. They see this as a significant issue of sustainability for BUPNG and for their wider community services. The proposal is to focus just on the trading activity, and work to trade the company into profit. Remaining funds and assets will be conserved, and used to this end. The arrangement would be to use these funds as trading capital, with the aim that all ongoing costs have to be met from trading profits.
The aim is to prove in the coming period that this business activity is financially viable, manageable and supports the farmers to get best value for their crop.
For the plans going forward, Banzaid has remitted to BUPNG NZ$20,000 as the balance of our original commitment to the project. In the 2018 year we will complete an assessment of the project and final reporting for the New Zealand Aid Programme.
pdf Download the Banzaid 2017 Annual Report here. (3.75 MB)