9 Oct 2003

Papua New Guinea labour minister back-tracks on threat to freeze work permits for foreigners

2:51 pm on 9 October 2003

A Papua New Guinea cabinet minister has back-tracked on suggestions there would be a freeze on work permits for foreigners.

Labour Minister Peter Yama had said there would be a freeze but he has now moved to clarify those statements after the business community reacted negatively.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare recalled Mr Yama from Madang Province and spoke to him in an attempt to clarify government policy.

Our correspondent in Port Moresby, Peter Niesi, says Mr Yama has now made it clear there will be no blanket ban on work permits.

"Mr Yama called me shortly after that meeting to indicate that The prime minister understood his position and basically what he said was not policy. Similar to what Sir Michael said, it had to do with an internal departmental audit of three thousand companies that own close to twenty thousand work permits."