13 Jan 2015

PNG power debt shrinks under state of emergency

4:23 pm on 13 January 2015

The Papua New Guinea Public Enterprises Minister says nearly four million US dollars worth of overdue residential power bills have now been paid as the country remains under a state of emergency.

Port Moresby

Port Moresby Photo: AFP

Ben Micah declared a 60-day state of emergency last week in an attempt to collect some of the nearly 50 million US dollar debt owed to PNG Power Limited.

Mr Micah says police and security personnel have been accompanying PNG Power staff during collections.

He says the move had to be made because threats had been made to the staff and the power grid.

"Government took strong measures to address this. Between the two weeks since when the gazette for the proclamation of emergency was made, the company is now in the black. We have managed to turn it around because collections are now being made, people who were not paying their bills are now paying their bills. We have been able to turn around a situation that could not be resolved for many, many years."

Ben Micah says the Secretary of Finance has also transferred money to pay for debts from the previous administration.

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