Transport unions demand government’s guarantee on K70 million loan

National, Normal

The National, Monday, May 9, 2011

PNG’s two biggest transport sector unions have demanded an immediate guarantee from the national government for a K70 million loan from Nasfund.
The PNG Maritime Transport and National Airlines Workers Union
presidents John Mahuk and Edward Memafu Foe, in a joint statement, raised concerns with the SCITB1 investment by Nasfund.
“On behalf of our members, we demand that the national government, through its supplementary budget, reimburse or repay K70 million with interest of 7.05%.”
Mahuk said the transport sector unions knew that K55 million had been frozen in an account with Westpac Bank.
“We demand that this frozen fund be converted into inscribe stock with the Central Bank or reimbursed into the Nasfund investment portfolio.”
The presidents stated that although the unions acknowledged the blunder by Nasfund board and management to invest K125 million into SCTIB1 without full endorsement by the national executive council, they were adamant that due to the influence of senior cabinet ministers who engineered the move, the national government must be held responsible to repay members’ funds.
“We understand these funds are being investigated, however, what guarantee is there for the reimbursement of our members hard earned savings?
“We seek clarity from our prime minister or acting prime minister to give us assurance of this reimbursement.”
The union leaders said workers contributing to Nasfund must not be threatened by funds custodian for seeking clarification of their funds either publicly or personally.
“We have the right to know how or what is happening to our lifetime savings and must not be threatened.”