INTERNET and telephone charges and prices In Papua New Guinea are fixed by the Independent Competition Consumer Commission, says PNG Public Enterprise and State Investment Minister William Duma,.
He was responding to questions by East Sepik Governor Alan Bird on the recent hike in mobile phone services fees and charges by Telikom.
“Nothing is free in this country. All of our State Owned Entities (SOEs) have not been performing well and it takes all of us to work together to understand that,” Duma said.
“If we expect our SOEs to make dividends when we want to get something, we have to go through necessary pain.”
Duma said figures produced by the coommission would be the guide.
He disagreed that the increase was around 170 per cent.
“I do not certainly agree that it is 170 per cent increase. That remains to be clarified by ICCC. We remain to be corrected by ICCC. One would think that the ICCC wouldn’t
allow a 170 per cent increase,” he said.
“There are certain increases that have been approved by ICCC.”
Duma said even before the increases, Digicel charges were higher than Telikom and bmobile.
“When we realised that we were operating below the rates charged by Digicel, we increased our charges by a minimum 30 per cent. Your own company was imposing charges 30 per cent below what was being charged by Digicel,” he said.
“We have to make money. Companies owned by us have to make money and to compete at the same level as Digicel. That is why we have restructured.
“We have put people on the board who bring credentials which we feel will help turn these companies around.
“I agree that there have been price increases but these are necessary increases that have been approved by ICCC to enable our companies to provide decent dividends for our people.”