PNG Chief Secretary Blames Department Heads For Failing To Pay Utility Bills

Outstanding electric payments caused disconnect to various government offices

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 17, 2017) – Mismangement and diversion of utility funds by departmental heads have resulted in accumulating bills owing to state-owned service providers that have pulled the plug on their services.

And Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari said this has been the problem faced for many years, adding that from initial discussions, some agencies have not been paying for their utility bills even though budget for these had been allocated and disbursed.

But he assured that Government had come up with a strategic payment schedule system whereby all utility funds would be centralised and managed by the Finance Department.

Mr Lupari said that all State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) heads will meet with him on Monday to discuss the way forward for settling bills starting next month.

Yesterday Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan told Post-Courier that he was aware of the outstanding bills to PNG Power Limited by Government House, Parliament House and other Government departments reported in the media yesterday.

But he said that had been addressed and warrants have been issued for payments, and PPL told to re-connect electricity.

Mr Lupari, on the other hand, said that payments for the outstanding bills are now being taken care of.

He said that all SOE heads have been asked to make a submission on how much in total all government owes them so that they start working on a workable solution for a monthly payment schedule.

"This is a legacy issue, and what we have done now is we are trying to take stock of all outstanding bills owing to our SOEs," Mr Lupari said.

"We need to put a system in place to address this so that we give comfort and stability to our government workers, hence not affected by the cuts so they can provide reliable services," Lupari said.

"When we meet on Monday, I will be addressing all these SOE CEOs and will basically tell them that we will get them to also sit with Treasury and Finance and compile reports on total owing and how we can address it monthly," he said.

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