Namah: State entities not focused on clients

Business, Normal

The National, Monday 23rd January 2012

MOST state-owned enterprises have failed to meet their minimum service standard requirements and have not focused on their customer requirements, acting Minister for Public Enterprises Belden Namah has said.
“That is not good enough. The people expect much more from their taxes and the money they pay for services,” he said last Thursday when addressing Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) and public enterprises chairman at Grand Papua Hotel.
Namah, who is Deputy Prime Minister, told them that no public enterprise had paid a dividend to the national government since 2007.
“That is not good enough, either. It shows that efficient and responsible management practices, tried and tested in the commercial world, are not being followed.”
He said that public enterprises must remember that they were owned by the people. The money invested in them came from taxes, charges and fees paid by ordinary Papua New Guineans, he added.
“Some of the money invested in public enterprises must be returned to the people as a dividend.”
The Government last week decided to provide some free medical services to the public, and to rehabilitate the nation’s hospitals.
Namah said some of the money to do this would come from public enterprise dividends therefore he urged the chairmen to redouble their efforts to make their businesses more efficient, and to pay dividends to the state.
Recent investigations, he said, also showed, worst of all, that public enterprises were ignoring due process.
Some of the financial disasters of the past 10 years that were being uncovered included:
lThe K3 billion-plus Abu Dhabi loan which the government had to top up by K900 million;
lThe disappearance of K100 million of MVIL money, invested without proper authorisation, into a mystery bank account in rural Australia;
lThe loss of more than K50 million by IPBC and PNG Ports in failed investments;
lUnauthorised expenditure and borrowings, in the case of Telikom alone of K800 million; and
lThe need to keep injecting millions of kina every year into public enterprises, when that money should be spent on roads, education and health.
“These types of failures over the past 10 years have contributed significantly to the inability of public enterprises to pay dividends.”
However, under reforms which included new boards and management there were signs of change for the better, Namah said, adding he was confident IPBC and its public enterprises now had the skills, the financial resources and the commitment to make big improvements to service delivery in the coming years.