PM: Apec funds there

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PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Coordination Authority has funds allocated for the three Senior Officials Meetings (SOM) leading up to the leaders’ summit in November.
He was responding to claims by some companies that they had not been paid for the services they provided to the authority since the first senior officials meeting in February.
“There are sufficient funds for the Apec (Coordination) Authority. All the genuine claims for service providers are being processed. And the SOM meetings are still going on,” O’Neill said.
Invoices sighted by The National yesterday from at least two rental car companies in Port Moresby showed the amounts owed to be between about K20,000 and K400,000. The invoices were addressed to the Joint Security Task Force office in Hohola. Other companies which provided food and other services during the first meeting in February, the second one in May and the third one which recently ended, are understood to be also waiting to be paid.
Efforts to get comments from Apec Minister Justin Tkatchenko and Police Commissioner Gari Baki yesterday were unsuccessful.
Apec Coordination Authority chief executive Chris Hawkins requested details of the service providers’ claims.
The owners of a vehicle hire company and a catering company who asked not to be identified claimed that the authority had not paid them for providing vehicles and food to the members of the joint security task force who were engaged during the three meetings. The task force is made up of members of the disciplined forces.
“We have not been paid since providing vehicles and cooking food for members of the JSTF since SOM One from Feb 24 to March 9, SOM Two from May 23 to 24,” a company spokesperson said.
“And we are providing services to SOM Three (Aug 4 to 20). We don’t know if we will be paid. We are using our own funds to buy food to cook for the security force members. We want to be paid as soon because our own funds are running out fast.”
The hire car company hired 10 vehicles for K880 per day.
“We want to be paid as possible because the banks are now after us. We took out hefty loans from the bank to buy these vehicles,” a spokesperson said. The next scheduled Apec event is the Mining Week and Mining Ministerial Responsible for Mining from Aug 23 to 27.