Kumul restructure to be complete by start of 2016: Prime Minister O’Neill


Following the passage of enabling legislation in the last sitting of Papua New Guinea’s National Parliament, the long-awaiting restructure of state assets and enterprises under the Kumul name is set begin, with Prime Minister O’Neill setting a target of 1 January 2016 for the transfer of state assets to their new homes.

PNG Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill

PNG Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill

The Kumul Consolidation Agenda, as it has become known, has been on the cards, publicly at least, since April 2013, when Prime Minster O’Neill first announced plans to reorganise and consolidate state assets into three independent companies: Kumul Petroleum Holdings, Kumul Mining Holdings and  Kumul Consolidated Holdings.

Kumul Petroleum Holdings will effectively be the new name for the National Petroleum Company of PNG, which holds the State’s 16.575% interest in the ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG project and will now hold all hydrocarbon assets, including those held by another state enterprise, Petromin.

Kumul Mining Holdings will hold all state-owned mining assets, including the Ok Tedi mine and the state’s interests in Nautilus Minerals’ future Solwara 1 project.

Meanwhile, Kumul Consolidated Holdings will effectually see the Independent Public Business Corporation, which holds the portfolio of state-owned enterprises including Air Niugini, PNG Power, Telikom PNG and PNG Ports, rebadged and reorganised.

‘Serious management’

‘What has been happening in the past is that the Treasury and other agencies of government have been holding the shares on behalf of the State. So, there has not been serious management of these assets,’ PNG’s Prime Minister O’Neill told EMTV’s Resources PNG program earlier this week.

‘We are investing billions and billions of kina on behalf of our people. We must have serious management of these investments that we are making on their behalf. That is why it is important that we have an independent structure that is going to manage this.’

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O’Neill said the new companies will have boards and management independent of government.

‘The Government will not appoint these people—the boards of those companies will now recommend to them the names of people who are going to be appointed through an independent process.’

‘We don’t expect results within twelve to twenty-four months, but you will see that the management of these organisations will improve because we are appointing the right people with the right experience, and we are going to make sure that they are accountable.’

O’Neill said that each of the three entities will be required to present annual reports to Parliament.

The government has set a date of 1 January 2016 for the orderly transfer of assets to the new entities.

‘I have no doubt, with public visibility, the public will know where their money is, who’s holding it for them,’ he told EMTV.

PNG’s Prime Minister O’Neill will next Thursday make the Opening Address at the 2015 Papua New Guinea Advantage Investment Summit in Brisbane.

The Summit program will also feature senior speakers from both the Independent Public Business Corporation and National Petroleum Company of PNG.


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