By : The National
NEW Communication, Information Technology and Energy Minister Sam Basil wants to put in place “responsible, affordable and accessible” communication in radio, television and the internet during his tenure.
Thanking Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday for assigning him the ministry, Basil said he looked forward to serving the people as a member of Cabinet.
“I will issue official statements on the way forward in the ministry of communications, information technology and energy after being briefed by relevant government departments and agencies,” he said in a statement.
The Communication and Information Technology portfolio was formerly held by Francis Maneke, the Talasea MP from West New Britain, who has since been decommissioned.
The Energy portfolio was held by Fabian Pok, the Minister for Petroleum.
O’Neill said the changes would strengthen the Government’s focus on key growth sectors “that will have a direct impact on business development and community advancement”.
“I have great confidence in the minister’s (Basil’s) capacity to meet the challenges and opportunities that our country faces in these areas (communications and energy),” O’Neill said.
“There are clear synergies between the energy and communications sectors 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.”
Basil said he wanted to see a sustainable energy policy and regulatory framework to power up industries, urban and rural areas.
“Energy is often the first utility requirement before water and telecommunications so we must get our energy policy right,” Basil said. In communications, Basil plans to review the National Broadcasting Commission and provincial radio stations.
He wants the re-introduction of shortwave and medium wave frequencies to improve radio access in remote rural areas as was in the early 1980s.
Basil also hopes to review NBC funding, revenue generation and financial management to see that cash flow and its implications on wages are addressed urgently.
He is the parliamentary leader of the 15 Pangu Pati MPs who recently crossed from the Opposition following the formation of the Government after the general election.