The Rimbunan Hijau (PNG) Group has celebrated its 20th anniversary in Papua New Guinea in style with a gala evening attended by the former Acting Prime Minister, Samuel Abal, various Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament, company officials and local business leaders.
The highlight of the evening was a speech by Rimbunan Hijau (RH) Executive Chairman Tan Sri Datuk Sir Tiong Hiew King, who had flown in from Malaysia especially for the historic occasion. In his speech, Sir Tiong announced the night was a celebration of the twenty year partnership between RH and PNG and recognition of the company's commitment to investment in the country.
Sir Tiong commended RH for having the foresight and confidence to diversify into sectors such as retail and property, media, transport, shipping, forestry and agriculture during the last twenty years. "In 2006," he stated, "roughly half of our turnover came from non-forestry operations. In 2011, the contribution will be around 60 percent."
Sir Tiong sought to reassure guests of the Group's ongoing belief in the future of Papua New Guinea and its commitment to supporting long-term economic growth.
Today the RH Group employs close to 7,500 people across the country. The Group has also made significant economic contributions totaling K1.65 billion to date, in the form of contributions, through and including payments of wages, salary tax, premiums and levies, royalties, export duties, corporate tax, NPF payments and infrastructure contributions.
The 20th Anniversary celebrations coincided with the Grand Opening of the Vision City Mega Mall, making for a truly historic day for RH and its employees. The Mall, which incorporates a gross lettable area (GLA) of 22, 500 square metres and includes 3 stories of world-class shopping mall facilities with more than 50 tenants, is a first of its kind development in PNG. According to RH Managing Director, James Lau, "It is also one of the most ambitious development projects in the South Pacific."
Construction is already underway on a new 18-storey international hotel, apartments and office space next to the mall. While the development of a second and third phase of the project will reportedly take place over five to ten years. Once completed, the huge development will represent a K1 billion investment in PNG. It will provide over 5,000 jobs and generate more than K200 million of economic growth annually.
RH's Guest of Honour during the day of celebrations, former Acting Prime Minister, Samuel Abal, was clearly impressed by developments. He congratulated RH on their 20 years of success and praised the company for staying committed to PNG by investing and diversifying in the economy despite the recent global economic downturn. He also acknowledged RH's vital role in providing employment and important social infrastructure across the country.
Abal described the Vision City Mega-Mall as the latest example of this contribution, before claiming it was the equal of any "shopping mall in Australia or the world for that matter."