1 Oct 2003

Alleged telecommunications sabotage in PNG may be related to privatisation

5:28 pm on 1 October 2003

Papua New Guinea's Chamber of Commerce and Industry says sabotage to telecommunications links appears to be related to planned privatisation.

Telikom PNG says sabotage in the Waigani area of Port Moresby yesterday disrupted government departments, banks, businesses and others.

Michael Mayberry, the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says banks throughout PNG have been affected with customers unable to access accounts.

He says many fixed phone lines in Port Moresby have now been restored, but the mobile links many have relied on are congested and patchy.

He says controversial plans for a partial privatisation of Telikom PNG could be behind the sabotage.

"We don't know but the inference is that it possibly is or it's related probably more to the possibility that some employees feel that they may lose their jobs and in a country where only 5 percent of the total population is employed in the formal sector, that's a major problem."

Michael Mayberry says the sabotage was caused by someone who understood the system.

The Telecommunications Workers Union have been carrying out rolling stoppages since Monday over the plan to privatise Telikom PNG.