Sir Mekere’s decision paying off for workers

Letters, Normal

The National, Thursday October 24th, 2013

 I WISH to comment on Jacob Sekewa’s letter titled “After NPF saga, Sir Mekere Morauta should step aside” (Oct 15).

No Jacob, on the NPF saga, it was not a 50% writeoff, it was a 15% writedown.

No Jacob, it was never a witch-hunt. 

Indeed, it was all about protecting the workers’ money through an independent and member-focused superannuation fund. 

With the former NPF, political interference was innately present and weakened the corporate governance structure of the fund. 

As a worker’s trade union leader at that time, I was frustrated when thousands of hardworking workers had to bear a 15% writedown of our superannuation savings. 

This was due to inappropriate decisions by a few members of the board of trustees who were appointed by the government.

These political appointees saw the superfund as a “get-rich quick scheme”. 

The pathway was to be at the top echelon of the board of trustees to exploit opportunities. 

The trade unions, and in particular, the banks and financial institution workers’ union vented our frustrations, and lobbied to have treasury powers transferred from the government to the Central Bank of PNG to avert political interference that we feared would continue to weaken the governance structure of the superfund and render it into complete oblivion.

 So, I believe that, as a responsible prime minister at that time and a former governor of the Central Bank, Sir Mekere made the decision to rid the funds off political interference via structural changes to governance and legislation.

Private workers and contributors today will never regret the decision for these structural changes made under his watch.

To place NPF in receivership was not the ideal choice and would have been resisted by the members and workers. 

So you see Jacob, I do not know how you have come to burst out against Sir Mekere over the NPF saga when the state, under his leadership, had made a commitment to help the superfund out of its troubles.

Now the fund has thrived and we can smile because of its strong corporate governance structure and legislation that protects our members’ funds.

Sadly, the “white-collar thieves” are still running free. 

It is unfair to make irrational outbursts against Sir Mekere. 

A knight such as him and an economist who served with distinction in the public service and in politics is simply too good to be urged to shut up especially on matters where he is competently knowledgeable. 


Reuben Guma-Elijah

Port Moresby