K5 MILLION OWED TO PNG COPRA PRODUCERS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 9, 2002 – Post-Courier)---Copra growers are owed more than K 5 million (US$ 1,294,000) because of "sheer incompetence" by Kopra Indastri Koporesen (KIK), says growers’ chief Valentine Kambori.

Mr. Kambori comments yesterday followed the closing down of copra depots because of KIK’s money problems.

He said the KIK decision came in the face of a standing arrangement by an international buyer to give funds.

About 3,000 metric tons of copra was stranded at the major copra producing provincial ports because of lack of funds to pay the growers — a situation that went beyond KIK’s control when its checks bounced.

Mr. Kambori, who is the national president of the PNG Growers Association, said he could not understand why KIK had refused an advance of K 2 million (US$ 517,600) to the growers by an international copra buying company, L.M. Fischel.

He described the refusal as "sheer incompetence" on the part of KIK that had led to costly arbitration at the expense of the growers.

"We never had bounced checks and closed depots in the past, and as L.M. Fischel has a genuine offer to support growers, at the end of the day, we want help from our international and domestic buyers," he said.

"Bouncing checks by KIK has not helped the situation," he said, adding the gloomy situation only paints a picture that the board and the management of KIK was incompetent in matters of trade, marketing and financial management.

He said buyers like L.M. Fischel and other domestic buyers like WR Carpenters (CPL) should be encouraged because they bring in cash on the basis of delivery or supply.

"The reason for KIK to close depots because there is no money cannot be accepted because we are aware that L.M. Fischel was going to advance money to buy the copra at the tune of K 2 million (US$ 517,600)," Mr. Kambori said. "What is KIK’s interest? We are getting buyers with cash at the ports and KIK is refusing the offer."

He said the association had supported KIK on the premise that trading and marketing of copra be licensed to the private sector while the corporation performed regulatory, research and development roles only.

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

LETTER

August 13, 2002

Dear Sir:

Our company’s name was mentioned in a very one-sided and factually inaccurate article published in The National (Papua New Guinea) on 9th August, which was reproduced on your web pages and on the PINA news page.

In the interests of fairness and objectivity, please could you give equal prominence to a report published in the PNG Post Courier on the same day?

Yours sincerely Clive Stott Managing Director L.M. Fischel & Co Limited Liverpool, England Email: ces@lmf.co.uk 

[For Post-Courier article, see: Papua New Guinea Shipment Boosts Copra Payment Hopes at http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2002/August/08-12-14.htm

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