Pangu Pati Leader Appointed Minister

By GORETHY KENNETH ( Post Courier )

PANGU Pati leader Sam Basil is now the new Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Energy.

He replaces Talasea MP Francis Maneke, whom Prime Minister Peter O’Neill removed while he was on an overseas trip.

His appointment by Mr O’Neill was based on his intention of realigning ministerial portfolios and strengthening the national government’s focus on key growth sectors, that would have a direct impact on business development and community advancement.

An elated Mr Basil in response said he looked forward to serving the people of PNG, citing national broadcaster National Broadcasting Corporation as an entity which deserved close attention in terms of funding and resourcing.

He thanked the Prime Minister for appointing him adding as an overview he would be looking at responsible, affordable and accessible communications in radio, television, internet and cybercrime.

As promised by Mr O’Neill a minor Cabinet reshuffle cannot happen because coalition partners will not accept the changes. Mr O’Neill also appointed another two Pangu vice ministers as part of his appreciation for the party’s move away from the Opposition, making it the second largest coalition partner in government now.

Mr O’Neill thanked Mr Maneke for his short-lived ministerial time and for placing the government’s and national interest above any other considerations.

“Ours is a coalition government in which we must have representation in the Cabinet for all partners in the government.

“There is a set number of Cabinet positions available, and I thank the Member for placing the interests of the government and the nation above all else.

“He is a very capable Member and Minister and has a strong ministerial future in the years ahead.

“In our system of government it is essential that we continue to evolve Cabinet and ministerial allocations in the interest of ensuring consultation and diversity of representation.

“Together, in our government, across districts and provinces, and agencies and departments, we will work together to deliver positive change for the people of Papua New Guinea,” Mr O’Neill said.

He said Mr Basil will be responsible for the energy and communications sectors that are crucial for growing a modern economy.

He said there were clear synergies between the energy and communications brought about by technological advances that are enabling Papua New Guinea to deliver positive change not only in urban areas, but also in rural and remote areas.

“The global energy sector is continually evolving with access to more cost-effective power generation and Papua New Guinea must be at the forefront of harnessing new technologies.

“Modern sources of energy production are more efficient and environmentally friendly, reducing the impact on local ecologies and reducing the causes of climate change.

“Papua New Guinea has already seen one of the most rapid up-takes of new digital communications in the world and we must increase penetration into remote areas.

“Through better communications, people around the country have access to information that changes lives.

“Doctors can access the latest techniques to better treat illnesses and injuries, teachers can deliver improved education for their students, and families can stay in touch regardless of distance.

“Several years ago APEC committed to achieve village access to the Internet as a baseline and we are working to achieve this goal.

“As Minister, Sam Basil will make sure there is increased consultation with our partners and global experts, and work through APEC to improve access to improved technologies that can be implemented at the local level.”

Meantime, Mr Basil has thanked the Prime Minister and looks forward to serving the people in line with the Alotau Accord II. He will issue an official statement soon.

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