By WALLACE KIALA
THE “last supper” for soldiers in military barracks nationwide was avoided after the Department of Defence and catering contractor Nationwide Catering Services (NCS) reached a temporary agreement last Friday.
NCS had told senior PNG Defence Force officials the last meal for the soldiers would be dinner served last Friday.
NCS claimed the Defence Department owed it K8 million but senior defence officials disputed the amount which they said was much lower.
The embarrassment of the soldiers having to go “hungry” was avoided after talks convinced the NCS to continue serving meals at the PNGDF barracks.
The department had said there were billing discrepancies by NCS which was causing the confusion among other issues.
The NCS had also threatened to shut down its facilities last November which resulted in K3.5 million being paid to NCS by the Treasury to avoid a disruption of services at the barracks.
Last month, NCS and the State signed a five-year year contract worth K11 million for feeding soldiers.
PNGDF Chief of Staff Capt Tom Ur said the State and NCS, including the PNGDF Council and the ministry, met last Friday.
“But I cannot disclose details of the resolution that convinced NCS to continue providing the meals for our soldiers,” he said.
Defence secretary Fred Punangi could not be reached for comments since Monday.
Sources at Murray Barracks yesterday told The National that the PNGDF Council, NCS and relevant State authorities were scheduled to meet tomorrow to reach a final solution to the outstanding catering issue.
NCS could not be contacted last Friday and this week for its response on the issue and what had transpired since Friday.