The proposed Kumul consolidation agenda incorporating all State owned enterprises (SOE) into a larger consolidated entity is still in the hanging. Various reliable sources from within the government and affected SOEs and other state owned companies through other legislative structures say government’s position on the Kumul consolidation agenda is unpredictable.
One source requested to be anonymous, told this newspaper: "The Government through the National Executive Council is passing resolution after resolution on the Kumul Consolidation yet there is no firm decision made as to how the agenda would be fully materialised. "Every month the NEC changes its decision and it’s unpredictable on the part of the government," the source said.
The Post-Courier understands very well that in July this year, the NEC made a decision which a copy couldn’t be sighted but from reliable sources, it (NEC) had approved for the consolidation of all the State’s mining and petroleum assets into Petromin PNG Holdings Limited (Petromin).
It was understood that the NEC decisions under the Kumul consolidation agenda was superseded by the July NEC decision, precisely the mineral and petroleum assets, and that would make Petromin the largest holdings company with a balance sheet anticipated to be in the billions.
Just think of all the mineral and petroleum assets like Ok Tedi Mine, Tolukuma Gold Mine, State’s 30% equity in Solwara 1 project, all the State nominated equity participation of other mines, PNG LNG project 19% plus shares currently held by the National Petroleum Company of PNG, the 25% of Petromin’s equity nominated for the Elk/Antelope project, Oil Search shares and other petroleum project equities.
However, stories within government circles and the affected government owned companies are that the government has changed its goal post again. This story was further confirmed by an insider from within government business custodian Independent Public Business Corporation that the July NEC decision has been shelved.
"The Government decision to park all the mineral and petroleum assets into Petromin won’t happen. "We don’t know what the Government has for Petromin but for the petroleum aspect of the government investment, we are strongly building the National Petroleum Company of PNG to become the National Kumul Petroleum which will manage all the State’s petroleum investment and its assets.
"Definitely, NPCP will become Kumul Petroleum," the high profile insider told this reporter. However, the highly placed source said the government may consider parking all the mineral assets under Petromin but the legislation to make this happen is far from reality as the enabling legislations have not been finalised.
A text message sent for the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to clarify on the progress on the Kumul agenda as well as asking him to confirm the government decision to rescind various decisions hadn’t been responded to. Also an attempted contact to NPCP through its legal division for relevant information and confirmation has been unsuccesful.
However, Petromin, the company that is most likely affected, responded when asked to comment on the prerogative of the government. Petromin acting managing director Jerry Wemin last night said: "The current Petromin Enabling Act 2007 remains intact thus it’s business as usual here at Petromin.
"Our job here at Petromin is to deliver on our mandate as per the Petromin Act 2007. All other policy decisions are the prerogative of government. The best people to answer your query are the government," the acting manager stated.