16 Apr 2013

Concern over PNG state asset restructure

3:13 pm on 16 April 2013

Papua New Guinea's Institute of National Affairs has raised concerns about the government's plans to restructure state-owned assets into three new entities.

The changes will transfer assets from Petromin Holdings, the Independent Business Corporation and the Mineral Resources Development Company to three new agencies called Kumuls.

The Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, says he is confident this structure will have political and commercial integrity, bringing more efficiency and maximising the benefits.

The Institute's executive director, Paul Barker, says there is some logic in rationalisation but he has concerns about plans for the current and former prime ministers to hold shares as trustees.

He says they should be at arm's length.

"From a governance point of view, have all the prime ministers involved in the process, if you like, of appointing the boards but not actually being the shareholders and the boards. And at the moment there are some ideas in there in terms of rationalisation which have some logic, as I say, the details have not really been worked out and there is a bit of loose thinking in there, in aspects of it, at this stage."

The head of Papua New Guinea's Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker