Friday, July 13, 2012

Sir Mekere: Sovereign Wealth Fund is last throw of dice for PNG


Papua New Guinea has one last throw of the dice if it is to be put on a sound financial footing, according to Public Enterprises Minister Sir Mekere Morauta, The National reports.
He said when welcoming Air Niugini’s new Boeing 737 to Port Moresby on Wednesday that the ace up the sleeve was the new Sovereign Wealth Fund.
“I have suggested that the Sovereign Wealth Fund should earmark dividend flows from PNG LNG ‑ about K500 million per year – to be used to recapitalise our public enterprises, and to pay for the maintenance of national infrastructure  - roads, ports, airports, universities, hospitals - and the provision of rural infrastructure,” Sir Mekere said.
12mnmekere: The shame of Lae...the road leading to the Nadzab Airport is ridden with potholes.-Nationalpic by MALUM NALU

“I hope that the next government sees the wisdom and practicality of that.
“I also hope that it does not succumb to the temptation of winning political popularity contests – looking good but doing nothing and achieving nothing to solve our deep-seated problems.
“Governments and politicians are there to make decisions in the national interest, not to please vested interests or to entrench themselves in the comfortable seats of Parliament House.
“Most importantly I hope that it does not listen to the ignorant, self-interested mauswara that the opponents of reform inflict on us.
“Most recently vested interests and would-be politicians opposed NEC’s proposed solution to the constant power blackouts that the national capital suffers.
“The anonymous arguments they put in support of their case were non- arguments. 
“What they served up to the nation through the media – in particular with the connivance of the Post-Courier – was politically motivated and self-serving nonsense consisting of falsehoods, rumour, innuendo and smear.
“Facts appear to be a non-essential item in public debate these days.
“How long are we going to allow tens of thousands of families to suffer every day because there is no electricity for mothers to cook with or lights for children to do their homework by?
“How long are we going to allow people – the old, the very young, the ill and the frail – to be put at risk because there is no power or water?
“Why should we allow the job prospects of our children to be crippled because rather than hiring more workers, business needs to spend its money on generators and fuel?
“These are the consequences of the opposition to the reforms that the nation so desperately needs.”
Sir Mekere said it was his hope that the incoming government would make decisions based on the fact that the people of PNG owned public enterprises.
“Not unions and employees,” he said.
“Not directors and management.
“The people own public enterprises through their elected representatives. 
“And elected representatives have a duty to make decisions in the national interest. 
“Elected representatives are empowered directly by the people, and the people are the owners of these assets.
“One of the biggest failures we have as a nation is that decision-making is often on the basis of political convenience or pandering to sectional interests.
“It is my hope that the new government has the determination and the wisdom to make decisions solely on the basis of the common good.
“If the new Government does not prevent decision-making from being hijacked, we will continue our increasingly rapid slide down a slippery slope.”

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