IPBC: BSP paid K34.9m in dividends

Business, Normal

The National, Friday 18th November 2011

BANK South Pacific has paid a total of K193 million as dividends to Independent Public Business Corp (IPBC) since 2003 when PNG Banking Corp was privatised, it was revealed yesterday.
This year alone, BSP paid K34.9 million to government as dividends.
The successful performance of the privatised entity was a huge vote of confidence in former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta’s privatisation policy  – something which Sir Michael Somare then opposed and even went to court seeking to annul the move.
The state’s interests in resources companies were also paying dividends.
For instance, Oil Search Ltd to date has paid a total of K274 million to IPBC.
This year alone, it paid K59.3 million as dividends.
Another big payer is Ok Tedi Mining Ltd which paid much bigger dividends.
This was revealed yesterday when IPBC paid K27 million to the consolidated revenue as its dividend to the state.
The cheque, made out to the consolidated revenue fund, was given to Treasury secretary Simon Tosali by IPBC managing director Thomas Abe.
Abe said IPBC and the public enterprises it controlled needed to operate in a commercially sustainable way and share their profits with the people through the annual budget, or by carrying out capital expenditure that would improve services for the public.
“This year IPBC received dividends from Bank South Pacific, Oil Search and New Britain Palm Oil, and we are in turn passing on as a dividend to the state the amount agreed to in this year’s supplementary budget.
“This payment is a signal that IPBC and the public enterprises it controls will be dealing in public funds in a responsible, accountable and transparent way.”
Abe also said the personal hand-over of the cheque symbolised a re-engagement by IPBC with important government departments and other institutions.
“Past experience showed that IPBC needs to have effective relationships with other arms of government if it is to avoid costly errors.
“To ensure that this happens, IPBC is developing a three-year corporate plan to define its vision and values and to lay down the framework for the processes it will follow,” he said.

Abe said IPBC conducted a planning workshop yesterday to finalise its 2012 annual plan, which will go to NEC for approval.
“This is a requirement of the IPBC Act that has not been followed until now.
“Neither IPBC nor our Public Enterprises has been as transparent and accountable as we should have been, and the new board and my management are determined to change that as quickly as possible,” Abe said.