Minister for Public Enterprises, Sir Mekere Morauta, on Wednesday accepted a dividend payment cheque from Air Niugini for K6.45 million.
The dividend is the first the airline has paid since it was corporatised in 1996.
Sir Mekere welcomed the payment, made at the unveiling of the airline’s new Boeing 737 airliner in Port Moresby on Wednesday.
“The principal that they must pay dividends is very important,” he said.
“It helps instil commercial discipline in public enterprises and it recognises that the people of Papua New Guinea, through the national government, are owners of these organisations and are entitled to a return on their investment.”
The cheque is to reimburse Air Niugini’s share of a K50-million dividend paid by Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) to the Consolidated Revenue Fund earlier this year.
Sir Mekere said this was the first year since 2007 that public enterprises have paid dividends.
“The fact that they are now able to do so reflects the reforms introduced after the O’Neill-Namah government was elected on the floor of parliament last year,” he said.
“My reforms, which focus on independence from political influence for IPBC and its public enterprises, accountability and transparency, efficient business practices and improved service delivery, are clearly working.
“There have been significant operational and governance improvements across all enterprises, and I look forward to a lift in service delivery standards in the coming years
.“I implore the incoming government to continue with these reforms and most importantly I hope they see the wisdom and practicality of earmarking some of the Sovereign Wealth Fund cash for infrastructure development and public enterprise rehabilitation.”
Three other public enterprises have paid dividends this year.
They are Eda Ranu with K3 million, PNG Ports with K15 million, and Water PNG with K500, 000.