ICT MINISTRY ABOUT ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY

Minister Hon Timothy Masiu today expressed his concerns on the misconceptions surrounding the role of the ICT Ministry.

“If fellow citizens misunderstand the role of the ICT Ministry, let me clarify. In terms of telecommunications, my Ministry is about improving access and affordability for greater public service delivery.

“On the other hand, Public Enterprise Ministry is about ensuring profitability. Kumul Telikom Holdings Limited (KTHL) provides telecommunication services like any other commercial entity. KTHL’s focus is on generating profit and maximising shareholders return on investment through telecommunication services in the open market. KTHL is ultimately governed by Kumul Consolidated Holdings and the Ministry of State Enterprises and Investment in contrast to the Ministerial Portfolio I hold”.

“As for the Ministry of ICT, my biggest concern at the moment is to find the best way to drive down telecommunication prices and to ensure the majority of our people benefit. To do this, we need fierce competition, and this currently is not happening. If we want prices to drop, either Telikom PNG pick up in its game, or we support new operators to enter the market. It’s as simple as that. On that note I recognize the work my colleague Minister for Public Enterprise is doing to reform Telikom through amendments to the KCH Act.”

Masiu also commented on issuance of a license to the third operators.“You will be aware of ATH International Venture PTE Limited, which obtained a license through NICTA a few years ago. This was before my time. Let me also make it clear that the procedure for issuing licenses to mobile network operators is independent of any Ministry whether it is my portfolio Ministry or that of the Ministry of State Enterprises.”

“If any operator wishes to enter the domestic market, my Ministry would be happy to see this happen as this will bring about much needed competition to the market to trigger price drops.”Meanwhile, citizens have been called upon to form telecommunication companies and to bid for NICTA licences.

“Let me also call upon capable Papua New Guineans operating businesses within the telecommunications space in Papua New Guinea to seriously consider applying for NICTA licenses. Why are we just passing comments on foreign licensees, and the State-owned enterprises year in year out? Where are the one-hundred percent owned Papua New Guinea telco businesses? Study the market and if the time is right, make a bold move and enter the telco industry so that you can make a difference to the business of telecommunication and public service.”

Approved for Release HON. TIMOTHY MASIU, MP Minister for Information & Communications Technology And Member for South Bougainville