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13 February 2024, Stanley Hotel & Suites, Port Moresby

Good morning everyone,

Welcome to the Prime Minister’s Back to Business Breakfast for 2024 and thank you for joining us. A warm welcome to the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon. James Marape, Ministers of State, Departmental Heads, distinguished guests, and members of our business community.

This year marks the eighth year Kina Bank has partnered with the Business Council of PNG to stage this Business Breakfast. We see this event as a fundamental part of our role in the broader nation-building agenda, and enhancing our connectivity with the Government and business community that is the back-bone and engine room of the PNG economy.

I would like to congratulate the Prime Minister Marape on your recent address at the Australian Parliament House in Canberra. Your inaugural address, Prime Minister, was from the heart and reaffirmed the strong bond and friendship the people of both countries have for each other. Thank you!

At Kina Bank, we have been working hard to improve the financial services landscape in PNG by making banking more dynamic, progressive, accessible and convenient. This has always been and continues to be the corner stone of our vision.

Despite some significant headwinds in 2023, we still remained true to our mantra as PNG’s leading Digital Bank by driving innovation and delivering services and products that have made banking accessible, convenient and easier to use for our customers. 

  • We launched our Pei Beta platform, a fast, fee-free way to pay bills including pre-paid phone and power recharges without having to be a Kina Bank customer.
  • We launched our first Kina Bank Business Centre and Kina Private Suite at Harbour City NCD. In fact, I am pleased to report that 2023 was a record year for Kina in new customer growth and lending to the SME and Commercial sectors and while NCD was a major contributor to this growth, it was also a solid testimony of our investment putting experienced and qualified business bankers back into our regional provincial branches with the ability to make quick and effective decisions.
  • We launched the first of several new look digital hubs around NCD at the Eliseo Shopping Centre at Rainbow. This is a business model that we will also look to replicate across the country and in conjunction with our co-branding new location branch strategy for new locations with These facilities provide customers with safer more convenient means to access our banking services.
  • In conjunction with the digital hub concept we also launched ‘Red Thunder’, a mobile banking team that assists businesses and their employees to seamlessly switch to
  • Kina Bank through its partnership with NiuPay and the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, launched an E-Lands Kiosk, an innovation that revolutionizes land management services or the public sector in Papua New Guinea by integrating Kina Bank’s payment processing solutions. A product which we are very proud of as it facilitates efficient service delivery.
  • The most exciting feature of the year though was the launch of Kina DigiBankr, an online mobile app that allows new to Kina customers to on-board themselves anytime and No more hassles of queueing or long waiting times, you can open and activate your own account and very soon also receive your virtual debit card via your own personal Kina wallet.

If anyone tells you PNG is behind the rest of the world when it comes to banking, tell them to think again. Kina is proudly committed to bringing the best of international banking practices and technology to our shores.

As we move into 2024, expansion and growth of our services remains a key focus. Our digital mindset and driving growth in our core businesses of retail and business banking, and wealth management will hopefully see Kina Bank make a valuable contribution to supporting the Government’s nation building agenda. We remain at the forefront of this investment and we are planning to invest over PGK 30 Million over 2024 to continue to expand and refine our services putting our customers at the centre of everything we do.

Our team at Kina Funds Management publish a monthly economic update and it would be remiss of me not to quickly talk about the outlook for this year.

Given the current geopolitical climate with the persistent economic challenges all nations are facing, leadership is now required more than ever to navigate these times of uncertainty.

And unfortunately, that is the theme for both the global and domestic economic outlook – uncertainty.

The IMF has projected steady global growth at 3.1% for this year, consolidating at 3.2% in 2025. While this is still relatively good news, this is still below global growth rate levels that averaged almost 4.0% in the years preceding COVID-19. And while we are still recovering from COVID-19, 4 years on. It will take time and tangible economic reforms to get growth up to these pre-pandemic levels.

The major reason for this challenge is the volatile energy costs and supply-chain disruptions, which PNG is not immune to. While the PNG’s fiscal budget may benefit from a windfall in revenue from high commodity prices, unfortunately translating this into tangible outcomes by addressing costs of doing business at the micro level which continues to be our biggest challenge.

Inflation really hit all of us hard in 2023. While official inflation statistics are hard to come by on a regular basis, we observed that the ICCC’s monthly regulated fuel cap pricing increased by 26% over the past 7 months. Almost 3 times.

But despite these challenges, we are still optimistic of the great potential of this country, and will continue to do so from our position in the banking sector. While it’s not all roses and sunshine, the Prime Minister and the banking sector have been constructively discussing separately some of the obstacles we are facing. However, it goes without saying that with the collective support and encouragement from the Government, public and private sectors, hopefully “together it really is possible”.

Thank you.