By ANDREW ALPHONSE
THE Southern Highlands provincial government last week went to the aide of Menduli Trading Ltd, the struggling business arm of the United church Highlands region, which operates in Mendi, Southern Highlands province, with a K200,000 donation.
Provincial treasurer Lawrence Olkoben made the presentation to assist the church run its business during a personal viability training graduation ceremony at the remote Wambip village in Karinz, Mendi district, last Friday.
Mr Olkoben said after consultation with Governor Anderson Agiru, the provincial government decided to step in and bail the company out of its financial woes as the company had been operating and serving the people faithfully in the province since 1960s.
Mr Olkoben said due to poor management, the company was hardly hit and failed to be profitable, forcing it to run into near bankruptcy and collapse in 2006.
He said Mr Agiru and the provincial government in their wisdom and foresight, saw the enormous contribution the company was making and also to complement the work of church in the spiritual and total integral development of people in the province decided to step in and bail the company out if its bad books.
Mr Olkoben said the K200,000 was “not a loan” for the company to repay the provincial government when it became profitable again in the near future but “a medicine to resuscitate” its business operations.
He said the challenge was on the management to embrace and work hard in making this pioneer church run-business in the province profitable and progressive once again.
Mr Olkoben was a former accountant with Menduli for five years and left the company with over K1 million in savings in 1997 to join Chevron Niugini at Lake Kutubu.
He later quit to join the public service and the Finance Department and was shocked to learn that the company he worked hard to build was on the verge of collapse.
Meanwhile, acting United church, Highlands region, Bishop Hun Moris thanked Mr Agiru, Mr Olkoben and the provincial government for their timely assistance to the church.
Rev Moris said the church would try to learn from its past mistakes and put in a good management to revive the company once again.