‘Government owes me K1 million’

National, Normal

The National- Thursday, January 20, 2011

 A businessman has expressed frustration with the national government’s attempt to “strangle and kill” small businesses by not honouring its commitments.

John Simon, owner of Debora Bookshops, Xtreme Hire Car and a coffee and cocoa buyer, claimed he was owed more than K1 million for services rendered to the national government.

The Maprik businessman, whose network of operations included Bougainville, Rabaul, Lae, Port Moresby, Wewak and Maprik, said yesterday that the national government owe him a total of K1,045,548.44.

He said the departments of National Planning, Petroleum and Energy, Attorney General, Education and National Library Service had yet to pay their outstanding commitments.

“Are they trying to force me to close my business? I have to pay lease rentals, bank loans and staff,” Simon said.

He said the government had been talking about building capacity for small business people but could not pay on time.

Simon said the government was forcing him to close down shop not because of his mismanagement but the failure by the state to pay on time.

“I am a Papua New Guinean who is entitled to participate in any government spin-offs as this current government is always preaching about private public partnership.”

Simon said the non-payment of services to private business houses was clear indication that the PPP was just paper-talk as he had meaningfully supported and provided services to government for over a year.

He said the governments much-talked about the billion kina LNG project was costing a lot of small businesses money for services rendered and they were still awaiting payments.

He said the government was fast losing its reputation and respect by the private sector, both domestic and internationally.