THE National Executive Council (NEC) has terminated the services of Isikeli Taureka as Kumul Consolidated Holdings (KCH) managing-director (MD) effective Tuesday last week.
It has appointed Professor David Kavanamur as acting MD until a permanent appointment is made, and current PNG Power Ltd chairman Moses Maladina as the acting chairman.
Prime Minister James Marape said in a statement yesterday that reasons for the removal of Taureka, after 20 months, were due to the performances of KCH and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and missed national project deadlines.
“The reforms of the SOEs were endorsed by the Government in October 2019,” he said
“We see it as the most-significant reform programme to be undertaken by any Government since the corporatisation of the state utilities and the creation of the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC), now KCH.
“Building governance and accountability must go hand in hand with successful project execution. These are viable projects that can fundamentally change the accessibility and affordability of services and benefit the welfare of our people.
“Extensive unexplained delays to major projects by KCH and SOEs are not acceptable. The Government understands that SOE issues cannot be immediately resolved as they take time.
“That is why the NEC provided well over a year for KCH to work with SOEs to support the development and execution of strategies. We had hoped more would have been achieved during Taureka’s tenure. We regret to take the difficult step of severing the MD’s appointment. However, the NEC felt it had to be done.
“The Telikom merger and partial privatisation with majority ownership and board control to be passed onto the super funds, for example, is one major issue the Government has been pushing since 2019 when we took office.
“The merger of Water PNG and Eda Ranu is another matter that has been outstanding and not yet resolved. This merger is to take on a subsidiary structure where 20 per cent of Eda Ranu is to be owned by Koiari landowners and 10 per cent each by Central Province and the National Capital District.
“This decision was taken in 2019 but has not been implemented to date.
“As for PNG Power and its continuous performance issues, these have been ongoing and evident.
“These are badly-needed reforms within the SOEs and responsive policies have been launched by the Government, yet, very little or no progress have been made.
“Out of respect to Taureka as a leading Papua New Guinea son, I had reached out to him for a meeting but there was no response forthcoming. Hence, the announcement of this decision (termination),” he added.
Marape said those appointed to key positions must see the big picture and respond urgently to meet targets set by the government of the day. “For others in key leadership roles, whether as chair, members of boards, departments or agency heads, you are not here to pass the time or warm seats. Everyone must step up.
“The Prime Minister’s Department is working to take stock of work done. So, if you feel you have not met your key performance indicators, I suggest you start thinking about resigning before the NEC asks you to leave.”
Marape said Kavanamur had served as KCH chairman and had a full understanding of the challenges of KCH and its objectives as set out by the Government.