Sir Mek: PNG Power needs support

National, Normal

The National – Thursday, June 23, 2011

THE national government has forgotten the essential fact that power is vital for economic development by not funding PNG Power to improve its capacity to supply reliable power, Moresby Northwest MP Sir Mekere Morauta told parliament on Tuesday.
In his questions to Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal, Sir Mekere said his questions concerned PNG Power and “the situation cannot be tolerated with constant black-outs”.
“Before I ask my questions, I wish to commend the field workers of PNG Power, the linesmen and power house technicians who strive against all odds to maintain power supply throughout the country,” he said.
“It is only due to their long experience and skills, their adeptness in cannibalising old parts and equipment, that we have power supply at all.
“We know that cheap, reliable power is essential for economic development and for people’s welfare.
“It seems that the government has forgotten this simple fact.”
Sir Mekere said the cost to business, to individuals, the danger to hospital patients that the constant interruptions of power pose should not be tolerated any longer.
“It is a national shame that while the government is drowning in cash, having had K5 billion idling away in commercial banks, it pays no attention to essential services.
“Can you explain why Air Niugini, of all the state enterprises, has been singled out and given K100 million free money from the budget, to re-flee?
“On top of this, Air Niugini was given money to buy the aerial PMV Falcon jet.
“Why has PNG Power not been recognised for recapitalisation?
“It is clear that PNG Power is paralytically, perhaps – fatally – undercapitalised.
“Does the government intend to rectify this situation? How, and when?” Sir Mekere asked.
Abal, in response, said the government needed to re-look at privatisation.
He said the government had committed funding in the budget this year for rural electrification to serve the bulk of the rural population instead of serving a few towns and cities.