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PORT MORESBY (Post-Courier, Mar. 23) –The Papua New Guinea Government will sell certain non-core State-owned businesses to help raise K200 million (US$57.2 million) to fund the 2003 Budget.

Prime Minister Michael Somare said that the government will have to sell them to meet what Treasurer Bart Philemon said in the 2003 Budget last year would come from privatization.

Those to be sold include the Hargy Oil Palm Project, PNG Forest Products, Higaturu Transport and Aquarius 21 Ltd.

But the Government will push for public and private partnerships in core assets like Telikom PNG Ltd and the PNG Harbours Board. This is to ensure efficiency in service delivery and profitable performance.

Somare said: "This means the government will consider each case separately and determine what course of action to take depending on the value of the state entity and its importance in the fulfillment of community service obligations. After these assessments have been made, the government will consider options such as inviting private companies to manage some of these state owned entities or selling them partially with the majority government ownership.

"However, there will be no wholesale disposal of assets, because from experience the previous government only managed to sell off the PNGBC, which may have been grossly under priced," he said.

March 24, 2003

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