PNG CONSIDERS MULTIPLE OWNERSHIP FOR TELIKOM

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 2) - The National Government could end up with three companies taking interests in developing telecommunication systems in the country under the privatization of Telikom (PNG) Limited.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare said this yesterday after Morobe Governor Luther Wenge raised questions on the Government's policy on Telikom's monopoly, which were also shared by West New Britain Governor Clement Nakmai.

Sir Michael told Parliament that the Government would be looking at the company that puts the better bid and consider a partnership with Telikom to develop telecommunication services.

"He said it would mean that two to three partners would combine within Telikom to provide essential services through Post PNG, telecommunications network, mobile and Internet services.

"And when these companies apply, they would have to assure the Government what sort of service they are good at providing."

Sir Michael said currently 11 companies are bidding for the purchase of Telikom with 51 per cent going to either of these companies. There would be a shortlist of companies to go into partnership with Telikom.

Earlier, Mr Wenge said the country is heading for a disaster with the sabotage of telecommunication cables disrupting services to some parts of Port Moresby and the country.

West New Britain Governor Clement Nakmai said he believes the issue was not partial privatization but the Government's move in soliciting investors to the country.

Mr Nakmai also queried whether the Government would introduce a law to regulate unionism in the country because unions have killed efficiency and productivity in a lot of countries.

"I believe the Government must look at youth players like in Australia and Singapore. We got so many people throughout PNG who are still suffering from lack of communication services."

Mr Nakmai wanted to know what was the current Government's policy on privatization and liberalization to allow for the opening of markets for investors.

He said if there was a good expressions of interest with the current bidders, then he suggested a further step be taken in pursuing interests in investing as a second or third carrier service because the people needed these services.

Sir Michael said the PNG Communication Workers Union has sought an undertaking from the Government about the future of workers and their conditions after the privatization of Telikom.

October 3, 2003

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

 

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