PRIVATIZATION IS ESSENTIAL: PNG PRIME MINISTER MORAUTA

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 12, 2000 – Post-Courier)---Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta said privatization is essential because state-owned businesses could not be managed and were running out of control "like steamboats.''

Sir Mekere, while presenting amendments to the Privatization Act, said the Government did not have the skills, money and capital to manage its businesses.

The amendments basically allow members of the Privatization Commission to report to the National Executive Council and not just one minister or official.

The amendments also allow for the position of managing director, which was not included in the principal act.

The amendments were bulldozed through by the Government using its numerical strength (62 votes to nine) despite strong objections from the Opposition.

Opposition Leader Bill Skate said he would not make any comment on the issue of privatization unless there was consultation on both sides and the government white paper on privatization was tabled and debated.

Sir Mekere told Parliament that the Privatization Act was an important Government document. He said PNG had no choice but to carry out the program for the future benefit of the country.

Sir Mekere later released a statement saying the amendments will strengthen the checks and balances in the overall privatization process.

The terms and conditions of the managing director and executive chairman will be determined by the Salaries and Remuneration Committee.

Sir Mekere said the amendments also clearly demarcate the roles of the managing director and the executive chairman, a requirement for the smooth and efficient operation of the commission.

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

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