PNG POWER CHAIRMAN RESPONDS TO PNG ENERGY WORKERS
I hereby clarify misleading statements by the PNG Energy Workers Association on the announcement of the new Managing Director for PNG Power Limited.
On the onset, the appointment of a Managing Director as the lead role is critical for any business ensuring that it is someone with the right competency and the cost is always budgeted. While sourcing for the Managing Director role, key competences specific to the industry include strong leadership, qualification and extensive experience in commercial, energy engineering, undertaken successful reform in the energy sector and appreciation of local culture. It is baseless to claim that these prerequisites in the ideal candidate were not considered.
The announcement of the appointment of Mr. Flagon Bekker, as Managing Director is the result of a comprehensive and transparent recruitment process facilitated by the Kumul Consolidated Holdings and a credible recruitment firm. Candidates included national and non-national applicants. In accordance with protocol, the recommendation submission was endorsed by the PNG Power Board, KCH, subsequently approved by the National Executive Council and effected by a National Gazette Notice. The announcement to the PNG Power Staff and Public was made after my Board followed all due process and acceptance of the MD post by Mr. Bekker.
I am disappointed that PNGEWA continue to misinform the public without factual information. They have not consulted me nor any of the PNG Power Board Members nor the Management and as usual had gone to the media attempting to mislead the public to create unnecessary disruption to the PNG Power business in this challenging time.
On the claim of denial of staff benefits, I can confirm that there is no denial of rightful payment to staff and despite the COVID-19 challenges, we have not reduced salaries nor allowances. Furthermore, and again in spite of the financial challenges on the business as a result of the pandemic, I trust all staff will appreciate and testify that they have received their salaries and allowances on time and in full. This only shows PNG Power’s continued commitment to its people.
CPI for 2019 was paid to staff and the 2020 CPI is being considered and discussed by the management. On superannuation payments, PNGEWA is well aware of the only few fortnights outstanding for 2018 whilst all current year payments are up to date.
As for management of staff for unacceptable behavior where some resulted in termination outcomes, these are all lawful exits as an outcome of thorough investigations and due process being followed.
No doubt significant investment is required to improve our current aging infrastructure and improved access to economical electricity across the nation. We are working with donor partners and internal funding to improve our infrastructure. Our focus is also on significant improvement in our internal controls on Standard Operating Procedures, initiatives to reduce our significant non-technical loss primarily illegal connection which is depleting our revenue in excess of approximately K100 million annually.
Significant, exceptional and collective effort by all staff, management and the Board commenced to rewire the organisation from years of poor management resulting in its current state of brokenness has commenced. A journey that started more than two years ago and is in progress. A journey that not only drives more transparency and accountability across the business, but also a journey that is building a culture that is conducive for positive change to our mindsets, our attitude, and strive to do better with our people at heart, our shareholders in mind, and our country’s development goals to contribute to. This is a journey that will definitely not overcome our challenges overnight. We need all hands onboard and strong leadership is essential.
We urge the PNGEWA to stop making misleading statements nor allow themselves be used by the politics of the day but work with PNG Power on strategic initiatives to reform the organisation. A simple example such as putting our collective effort to stop illegal connections, etc. The media is also urged to verify statements before publication to avoid unnecessarily sensationalising baseless issues.
Peter Nupiri, Chairman, PNG Power Board