Telco needs K300mil investment

Sasindran Muthuvel

FORMER state enterprise minister Sasindran Muthuvel says at least K300 million in capital is needed from the superannuation funds for the partial privatisation of Telikom Ltd.
Muthuvel, the West New Britain Governor told The National, when discussing the privatisation process, that Telikom’s network assets and other assets must be separated, and to remain with the Government to avoid passing major liabilities to the new partners.
He said the superfunds should be given more freedom in management decisions.
“The partners should be given the freedom to make management decision but before giving away, we must separate Telikom’s network assets and other assets to remain with Government and give access to business operation only,” Muthuvel told The National.
“Let the new partnership rent the assets from the Government or an asset company, to avoid passing major liabilities to the new partnership as we have more than a billion in loan with the Chinese Exim Bank borrowed for Telikom’s 4G tower network and one of the most expensive Kumul undersea cables.
“Work for merging both 2G/3G bmobile towers and Telikom’s 4G tower has started.
“A Huawei team is working on merging the network. They were the ones who did Telikom’s 4G network and also bmobile’s system.”
Muthuvel also said there was a need to pay off BSP (Bank South Pacific Financial Group Ltd) around K100 million and another ANZ loan or pay off at least the ANZ loan and maintain loan with BSP.
“Use the capital on merger of network, serious marketing of network and also establish towers in all provinces.
“We must also explore tower sharing arrangement with all operations (Telikom to Digicel and vice versa), instead of forcing all communication companies to establish their own towers which is expensive and cause more damage to environment.
“We should have tower sharing arrangement with companies (for a fee).”
He said about K300 million in capital injection should turn around the Telikom business. And with prudent management, it should be able to pay dividends to the super funds.”