13 Sep 2004

PNG opposition leader blasts government over Telikom sale process

8:42 pm on 13 September 2004

Papua New Guinea's opposition has described the proposed sale of PNG Telikom to an African communications company, Econet, as a complete disaster.

Opposition leader Peter O'Neill says it's unclear whether the government still intends to sell 51 percent of Telikom to Econet, but the government has mismanaged the process throughout.

Mr O'Neill says the Government's decision to launch a second review into the proposed sale, following widespread opposition to the Econet deal, will be costly and is unnecessary.

He asks why many political figures have gone out of their way to promote the sale to Econet which the board of Telikom is opposed to.

"The telecommunications industry is now poised to make close to a hundred million kina in profits. And the sale price is about a hundred and fifty million, almost the equivalent to a yearly profitability of the organisation. So we believe that the industry is doing well, it's not neccessary to make any sale and we've asked the government to scrap the sale and, if need be, privatise the management of the telecommunications industry in the country"

Peter O'Neill says there's even more confusion now that other members of government appear to be pushing for the sale to be made to Amalgamated Telecom Holdings of Fiji ATH.