17 Jul 2004

Telikom deal not worth it, says PNG Opposition

9:26 am on 17 July 2004

Papua New Guinea's opposition says the government should halt the sale of the country's main telecommunications provider, Telikom PNG.

Opposition leader Peter O'Neill says the sale of this vital asset has been rushed, without proper discussion in parliament, and that proper tender processes weren't followed.

The Zimbabwe-based company Econet, is set to pay the PNG government US$50 million for a 51 per cent stake in Telikom PNG.

But Mr O'Neill says Econet's financially unsound and embroiled in questionable deals.

He says it does not have the financial or technical capacity to add any value as PNG's telecomunications provider...

"Recently we understand that it's trying to do some business in New Zealand, but they're running into trouble, and that it has got litigation issues in some of the countries that it's operated in, in Africa. We don't think it has the financial capacity, and neither has it got the technical capacity to really add value to the Telikom business."

Peter O'Neill says the Prime Minister made a promise that any sale of a state asset would be debated in parliament but he hasn't fulfilled that commitment in this case.