Two years have gone since the abolishment of the Border Development Authority, but 16 staff who worked for BDA’s subsidiary, PNG Maritime Transport Limited have not been paid and have been waiting since.
These 16 have also been unable to access their superfund because they have not been formally retrenched and have no supporting documents to apply for their savings.
One employee passed on in 2019 while waiting for his entitlements.
These 16 staff are those that were attached with BDA’s subsidiary, PNG Maritime Transport Limited.
PNG Maritime Transport Limited owned 7 ships which serviced outer lying islands of border provinces.
When the BDA office was shut down in 2018 by repealing the BDA Act of parliament, all employees working with BDA were paid their fortnightly salaries from Dec 2018 until they were paid their final entitlements in October 2019.
But for these 16, they were put off from the payroll on December 2018 and were never paid their entitlements to date.
“Why did the government create Border Development Authority and why did BDA create PNG Maritime Transport Ltd? We did not just mushroom up ourselves? We were created by an Act of parliament and that organization created us. So we are suffering now. Our sixteen other families are suffering here,” said their Spokesman, Pierce Lopia
Interestingly, Only the 17th employee, who is now not part of this group was paid.
“Our General Manager was paid together with the BDA. Our GM got paid out and left all of us, me and my brother here (Dolf Margen), all of us in limbo,” added Lopia.
According to documents supplied, directions were given in NEC Decision Number 359 of 2018, for concerned government departments to ensure the process of abolishing this office, retrenchment of staff, audit into BDA and the assets and liabilities of its subsidiary were completed.
However, this did not eventuate or was not completed because the 7 ships are now floating on the waters of Port Moresby and Madang, slowly rusting away.
The ships were bought at a total value of approximately K27 million, now sitting idle, almost gone.
“Although it didn’t serve its purpose, the initial creation of the shipping business was a good decision to serve those outlying islands and outback provinces where major shipping companies never serviced,” Lopia said while commenting on the ships.
These employees are now calling on the concerned government departments to settle their outstanding entitlements.
The closure of this office has also affected their prospects of withdrawing their superfunds.
“Superfund requirements are that when you are finishing with another employer, and if you are not going to work for certain months and you intend to withdraw your savings, then you got to present that official letter from your employer. That qualifies you to claim your contributions or whatever it is. In here, it’s like double punishment, we didn’t get our pay, no entitlements paid and our Superfund,” a disgruntled employee said.
With no formal letters issued to them to advise of the end of their employment with BDA, even after two years of the abolishment of BDA they say they are still employees of BDA and best describe it in the following terms.
“When they abolished BDA, they did not abolish PNG Maritime Transport Limited. PNG Maritime Transport Limited is still living in a dead animal, so this is a legal crisis,” Mr Lopia said.