A call has been made for Papua New Guinea Government-owned businesses to set an example and help drive down cost of living pressures on families and the business sector.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the decision to block the proposed power price rise by PNG Power would be followed up by a wider government policy that requires all state-owned businesses to look at ways to cut costs, be more efficient and not just rely on increasing charges.
“For too long governments have rubber stamped price increases by a range of state enterprises and the impact on families, and on small business have been huge. That has almost encouraged the state’s power and other entities to be lazy when it comes to efficiency and driving down costs,” O’Neill said.
“I am putting all state-owned service providers on notice. My government will not be automatically approving price and charge increases.”
O’Neill said the Minister for Public Enterprise and State Investment would be directing all state owned entities to focus first on efficiencies and cost saving measures before seeking price rises, especially in basic service areas such as power and water.
O’Neill said his Government would set an example when it came to making the economy more efficient and competitive - and on keeping increases in service costs as low as possible.
“We expect the private sector to follow our example. We need to all work together to make our economy more efficient, so we can maximise the opportunities our vast natural resources offer us,” he said.
“I have listened to our people and our businesses - power charges are already very high.
“For too long we have put the whole question of the efficiency of government services, including government owned business services, in the ‘too hard basket’ and the result has been higher inflation, and even putting basic services, such as electricity beyond the affordability of families and businesses alike.
“We have made an important start with regard to power price rises. That approach will be the blueprint for the future.”