27 Aug 2003

ADB funds for PNG on hold over fisheries appointment

7:24 am on 27 August 2003

Papua New Guinea's access to an Asian Development Bank loan of more than 35 million US dollars is being stalled by a controversial government appointment.

The ADB objects to the hiring of Molean Chappau as managing director of the National Fisheries Authority without the position being advertised.

He replaced Dr Anthony Lewis, who was an ADB consultant.

The finance minister, Bart Philemon, says the ADB also has concerns about governance, but he hopes the money will come through before the end of the year.

"I think the ADB is looking at some areas of governance. I think there's still question of finalising the appointment of managing director of fisheries. It's an important area, we need to finalize in order for the ADB to come forth with the last tranche."

Mr Philemon says the position is now advertised, and an independent organisation is being engaged to go through the shortlist.

Meantime, the delays over the loan are forcing the government to borrow money at high interest rates from the Central Bank.