Business News

No Funds for Rural Electrification Program

by Theckla Gunga – EM TV News, Port Moresby

State Enterprise Minister, Ben Micah, announced in parliament today that over K40 million was used to save PNG Power Limited from going out of business.

His announcement follows a series of questions by members for Angoram and Talasea on the rural electrification programs in their electorates.

Both members said millions of kina were deposited into their provincial government for the installation of electricity in their districts but to date their districts still lack power supply.

The tussle over the funds for rural electrification program dates back to the Somare government.

K10 million was given to the Angoram district to pull powers lines from Wewak into Angoram, however, Angoram MP, Solio Waipo says that has not eventuated.

He told parliament this morning that money initially given for the program was taken from the East Sepik Provincial Treasury leaving the project incomplete.

The same concern was raised by Talasea MP Francis Marus in a supplementary question to State Minister Ben Micah.

“It has been five years now and there half of the work in Hoskins airport remains incomplete,” Mr. Marus said.

Mr. Marus said over K3 million was invested by the Somare government for PNG Power to bring electricity into Hoskins but that has also not eventuated.

Both members have asked Minister Micah to give a report on where the funds may have been used and if the rural electrification program could still be conducted.

Minister Micah, before answering the questions, tried to explain the challenges the government went through in trying to save PNG Power from going out of business, but was interrupted by Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare to not beat around the bush and answer the questions accordingly.

“Point of order Mr. Speaker, he (Micah) is not answering the question,” Sir Michael said.

Minister Micah then admitted that the some of the funds that were supposed to be used for the electrification program were used to save PNG Power and at the moment there is no money left to continue the program.

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