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By Nikints Tiptip

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 4, 2000 – The National)---Papua New Guinea’s commercial banks reported no Y2K related problems when business resumed Monday, the third day of the new millennium.

Commercial Bankers Association Chairman and Managing Director of Bank South Pacific Noel Smith made the announcement.

Smith said he assumed that all the commercial banks had no problems during the first working day of the new year, as no reports were made citing any Y2K errors in their systems.

Smith said it was a special year for BSP as they closed their books on December 31.

"We were balancing our books at the end of December without any Y2K related disruptions, and all our management reports and transactions were processed smoothly," he said. "We are also pleased to say that we are not surprised to see a smooth outcome because we have spent money to adequately tackle the Y2K issue."

However, Smith said he was not able to give an all-clear yet. It will take a day or two before a total clearance can be announced.

He said BSP had smooth transactions in critical areas such as systems and its international switch operations, which were of some concern to the bank.

"The day has been uneventful and at this stage it is premature to assure anybody yet, but the smooth operation is the highlight of our early preparations," he said.

PNGBC reported no interruptions. Any problems that do arise would be treated within their contingency plans, said Deputy General Manager John Geoffrey.

He said all its branches ran smoothly with no Y2K problems being reported.

During the past few months, the bank advertised in a media campaign that it is Y2K ready.

"If anything happens, we have our team ready to look into those areas," Geoffrey said. "We cannot assure anybody yet but our systems have not faced any disruptions over the past three days."

ANZ Bank reported no Y2K related disruption. And Westpac Bank announced over the weekend that its transition to the year 2000 was smooth.

Managing Director Simon Millett said Westpac has reported no processing problems or errors.

''All retail and financial market systems have been reported as operating normally,'' he said in a statement. "Westpac's success in Papua New Guinea reflects all the hard work of our staff. Our customers can continue celebrating the New Year and be confident of business as usual.''

The National Y2K center also reported no problems from its major stakeholders.

Center Coordinator Joseph Boma said no problems were reported from all its stakeholders in the country.

He said Elcom, Eda Ranu, and the Department of Civil Aviation and Health were the first stakeholders to report that there were no problems.

He said a minor power failure in Wewak was not Y2K related and quickly solved.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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