Minister: PNG Power Company ‘In Deep Cash Flow Shortage’

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Failure to complete expected projects draws ire of MPs

By Andrew Alphonse

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 30, 2015) – The State owned power provider, PNG Power Ltd (PPL) is broke and in deep cash flow shortage, Minister for Public Enterprises and State Investment Ben Micah revealed in Parliament yesterday.

Mr Micah was responding to a Question without Notice from Angoram MP Salio Waipo who asked Mr Micah to explain why PNG Power Ltd after being fully paid K10 million [US$3.5 million] from his district services improvement funds (DSIP) for Angoram rural electrification project by the last government in 2012 has failed to deliver the Wewak to Angoram power project.

Mr Waipo asked about why there was delay in executing the project as there is not one single power pylon nor lines being erected to indicate the implementation of the project.

Mr Micah admitted that PPL was on the verge of collapse with an overdrawn bank account of K40 million [US$14 million] last year. He said under the combine State of Emergency (SOE) operations with members of security forces, PNG Power was able to recoup and save K18 million [US$6.3 million] from outstanding power bills and other cost incurred by PNG Power. Mr Micah admitted that PNG Power is financially broke due to widespread misuse and mismanagement of money including funds given to PNG Power by MPs for their rural electrification projects.

His response drew the ire of East Sepik Governor Sir Michael Somare who interrupted with several points of order to ask Mr Micah to tell the ‘real truth’ to the people of Angoram and East Sepik Province why the K10 million was taken back to Port Moresby after it was parked in the Wewak provincial treasury for the project in 2012.

Sir Michael claimed that the K10 million taken back to Port Moresby while the contract was awarded to company associated with a senior executive of PNG Power Ltd. Mr Micah was caught off guard by Sir Michael’s claim and admitted that PNG Power has no money and is currently in the process of rebuilding the company to be profitable again. Mr Micah said he would prepare a detailed report on the financial status of the company including money paid to PPL by MPs for rural electrification that are yet to be implemented.

Talasea MP Francis Maru also raised concern over a K3.4 million [US$1.2 million] he paid for his rural power project five years ago while PPL has got the job partly done.

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