Muthuvel told about some SOEs on the verge of bankruptcy

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FORMER Minister for State Enterprises William Duma says his tenure in charge of the ministry had been challenging with the number of entities under his watch.
Duma handed over the reins to incoming Minister Sasindran Muthuvel yesterday, saying looking after 10 state companies over the past seven years had been an honour and entrusted their care to next caretaker.
He said the 10 SOEs were like 10 different departments requiring his attention daily.
The entities are: Kumul Agriculture Limited, Air Niugini, Kumul Telikom Holding Ltd, National Development Bank, Post PNG, PNG Power Ltd, PNG Ports, Water PNG and Motor Vehicle Insurance Ltd.
Other subsidiaries included Dataco, bmobile, EMTV and FM100.
He said the government had invested in a wide range of businesses, including the petroleum industry and the State Enterprises Ministry was certainly one of the busiest, if not largest in terms of its responsibilities and scope.
Duma said he had experienced some challenging times when some SOEs were not performing and were on the verge of bankruptcy.
When handing over the ministry to Muthuvel at the Kumul Consolidated Holdings head office in town, Duma said the state’s companies needed to work together when opportunities arose to support each other and ensure success.
He said profitability was also a big factor with the state requiring their companies to provide a return and not be a liability on the public purse.
“We have an entrenched culture of nepotism, regionalism, slackness and corrupt practices and incompetence in some of our SOEs,” Duma said.
“All this has built up over the years and would take time to turn around.
“It’s not something that one can correct in a year or two so we started slowly by looking at the management structure and the boards, and made the changes.
“But it’s still work in progress changing institutions and entities that have been in existence for 20-30 years,” he said.
Duma said it would be unfair for him to say which entity was the best performer because of the environment they were operating in.
He said MVIL for instance was the only company that had no competition in the market so any comparisons would be not be accurate.
Duma said he was satisfied with his tenure over the ministry and was happy to leave it to Muthuvel.
Muthuvel said he would be scrutinising every SOE and would be looking to streamline operations while maintaining profitability.
He said his priority was to make all entities efficient and profitable.

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