PNGeans will not lose jobs: Duma

Papua New Guineans will not lose their jobs when an international port manager begins operating the Port Moresby and Lae ports, says Minister for State Owned Enterprise, William Duma.

The Minster said this when questioned yesterday by Northern Governor Gary Juffa over the agreement between the State and the Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI) company.

Governor Juffa said facts in his possession prove that the company has a track record of mistreating employees, pushing out local business and charging ridiculous tariffs.

Governor Juffa questioned the Minister why a company with a terrible track record was given a terminal operation contract.

He said it is rumoured that the Company will replace 1,000 locals with Filipino workers, underpay staff and charge high tariffs which will rub off on ordinary citizens.

An apparently irritated Duma called on Juffa to be a responsible leader and to present facts and not rumours, of which the Governor interjected, defending his claims.

Duma said no jobs will be lost and the Governor should specify which companies or state entities he is referring to.

Minister Duma said the awarding of the contract was an exhaustive process which took three years and not within a few months.

He said the ICTSI was a credible operator and highlighted that it was currently operating the Melbourne Port in Australia.

Duma said the country recognised that the PNG Ports Corporation was not making the returns it should and ICTSI aims to improve services and revenue from the ports.

He added that the company will not charge high tariffs, as they have agreed through consultation with the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) on the tariffs to pay.

Cedric Patjole