30 May 2008

PNG's Mt Hagen city council shuts down operations after running out of money

2:49 pm on 30 May 2008

In Papua New Guinea, the Mt Hagen City Authority is broke and its operation has grounded to a halt.

The PNG national newspaper says as of Tuesday, it only had 600 Kina or over 225 US dollars in its bank account, and could do little with the money.

At least 150 city authority employees have gone without pay for five fortnights, and have stopped working.

Sources said nobody turned up for work on Monday, and there was rubbish piling up everywhere in town.

All authority vehicles are off the road because there is no fuel to run them.

A senior city health inspector, Victor Megao, told The National they have exhausted the 187-thousand US dollars they collected from trading licence fees this year.

He said the money was used on wages, administration costs, servicing vehicles, settling outstanding bills and legal fees.

Mr Megao said the National Government grants for the first and second quarters have not been released.

And the urban land rates, which normally rake in about 299,000 US dollars annually, were stopped by the National Court last year.