PM Clarifies Termination

The National Executive Council has rescinded the appointment of Managing-Director of Kumul Consolidated Holdings (KCH), Isikeli Taureka, effective as of October 12, 2021.

The reason for the removal of Taureka, after 20 months, was tied to the performances of KCH and State-Owned Enterprises and missed national project deadlines. 

Prime Minister James Marape in a statement explained that the reforms of the SOEs were endorsed by the Government in October 2019. 

“We see it as the most-significant reform programme to be instigated by any Government since the corporatisation of the State utilities and the creation of the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC), now the KCH. 

“Building governance and accountability must go hand in hand with successful project execution. These are viable projects that can fundamentally change the accessibility and affordability of services and benefit the welfare of our people. Extensive unexplained delays to major projects by KCH and SOEs are not an acceptable position.” 

He added that the Government understands that SOE issues cannot be immediately resolved as these take time. 

“That is why the NEC provided well over a year for KCH to work with SOEs to support the development and execution of strategies. 

“We had hoped more would be achieved during Mr Taureka’s tenure and the NEC is regretful for taking the difficult step of severing the engagement. 
“However, the NEC felt it had to be done.”

The Prime Minister reiterated that the Telikom merger and partial privatisation with majority ownership and board control to be passed onto the super funds, for example, is one major issue the Government has been pushing since 2019 when we took office.

“The merger of Water PNG and Eda Ranu is another matter that has been outstanding and not yet resolved. This merger is to take on a subsidiary structure where 20 percent of Eda Ranu is to be owned by Koiari landowners and 10 percent each by Central Province and National Capital District. This decision was taken in 2019 but has not been implemented to date. 

“As for PNG Power and its continuous performance issues, these have been ongoing and evident. 

“These are badly-needed reforms within the SOEs and responsive policies have been launched by our Government, yet, very little or no progress has been made in these areas.

“Out of respect to Mr Taureka as a leading PNG son, I had reached out to the KCH MD to meet with him but there was no response forthcoming, hence, the finality in the decision. 

“Those appointed to key positions must see the big picture and respond urgently to meeting targets set by the Government of the day.”

He said for others in key leadership roles whether as chair, Members of Boards, Department or Agency heads, you are not here to pass the time or warm seats. 

“Everyone must step up. The Department of Prime Minister is working to take stock of work being done, so if you feel you have not met your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), I suggest you begin thinking about resigning before the NEC asks you to leave.”

To ensure continuity going forward, the NEC has appointed Professor, David Kavanamur as Acting Managing-Director, until a permanent appointment is made. 

Prof. Kavanamur has served as KCH Chairman and has a full understanding of the challenges of KCH and the objectives as set out by the Government. 

He is well respected in PNG and across the region and has a comprehensive background in both the public and private sector. He has the full support of the KCH Board under Acting Chairman Moses Maladina.

“I have directed for the implementation of a turnaround strategy that seeks to stabilise the SOE sector and invest to grow the General Business Trust under the leadership of Minister William Duma, the KCH Board and Managing-Director."

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