NEC appoints new Managing Director and Board Members of IPBC

NEC appoints new Managing Director and Board Members of IPBC
The Minister for Public Enterprises Rt Hon Sir Mekere Morauta announced
today that NEC had appointed Mr Thomas Abe as the new Managing Director
of the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC).

“The position was publicly advertised as the Government wished to
demonstrate its commitment to transparency and desire to get the best qualified
person for the job. Mr Abe was selected from a large field of candidates; the
assessment of all candidates was undertaken by an independent, professional
recruitment firm.”

Sir Mekere said that Mr Abe’s track record as a public servant was exemplary.
“Mr Abe is extremely well qualified for this position, having previously
worked in Foreign Affairs, Trade, IPA, Treasury and ICCC. His seven years as
head of ICCC gives him a unique insight into the regulatory framework for
public enterprises.”

“Papua New Guineans can thank Mr Abe for revolutionising their lives through
access to telecommunications. It was his firm stance and resolution to follow
the law that allowed Digicel to continue operations and expand throughout the
country. Through his work at ICCC Mr Abe also became well known and well
regarded in the private sector.”

Sir Mekere said that the Prime Minister and Cabinet were confident that Mr
Abe would work closely with him as Minister to sort out a host of problems left
behind by the previous Minister Arthur Somare.

Sir Mekere also announced that NEC had appointed Dr Thomas Webster, the
Director of the National Research Institute as Chairman of IPBC. “Dr Webster
is well known and highly respected throughout Papua New Guinea, through his
insightful research and comments on public issues and public policy-making.”
“The terms of the previous members of the board expired in early August. It
was important to have a new Board in place immediately so that the work of monitoring of state enterprises
and rehabilitation of a number of them can start.”

“Other board members appointed include Ms Felecia Dobunaba, Mr Peter Aitsi
(the nominee of Transparency International) and Mr Aho Baliki (the nominee
of the Institute of Bankers). Two more members to represent the Institute of
Directors and the PNG Chamber of Commerce will be appointed shortly. The
full board also comprises three ex-officio members – the Managing Director,
the Secretary for Treasury and the Secretary for Justice.”

Sir Mekere said that there was much work to be done and that he looked
forward to working with the new Board.

“Arthur Somare keeps telling the nation that all the state-owned enterprises are
performing fabulously as a result of his policies and actions. Nothing could be
further from the truth. All are grossly under-capitalised. Some are bumbling
along. Others are dead, but refusing to fall down.”

“Arthur Somare mutated IPBC into an octopus, with tentacles everywhere.
This has weakened the central role of IPBC from being a house of
rehabilitation to a warehouse storing junk. He also turned IPBC into a
petroleum house in competition with Exxon, Oil Search and Petromin. It will
be a big task for the new MD and Board to sort out the accumulated rubbish.”
Sir Mekere said that his first priority would be to attend to serious issues facing
Telikom and PNG Power. “These utilities are vital to support social and
economic development. We cannot ignore the state they are in any longer. In
the short time the O’Neill-Namah Government has, I am determined to find
solutions and effect change.”

Mekere Morauta KCMG MP
Minister for PublicEnterprises