PORT MORESBY (THE NATIONAL) — Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape says Telstra’s announcement to acquire Digicel Pacific is a commercial transaction that has been concluded under the present regulatory environment which encourages investments in the sector.

Marape welcomed the investment of up to K4.9 billion (US$1.396 billion) and stated that all Government and regulatory approvals would take their normal course for the acquisition to be completed.

He acknowledged the involvement of Export Finance Australia in this transaction.

This was expressed during a recent meeting between Marape and Telstra chief executive officer Andrew Penn.

Marape also thanked Denis O’Brien and Digicel for their investment and dedication to Papua New Guinea since they came 

into the market in 2007.

In a letter to O’Brien, Marape said: “Digicel has been responsible for significant direct and indirect economic and social development across the country.

“Digicel connected towns and villages, friends and family.

“It was Digicel which redefined what mobile telephony meant for our people, and opened up the different market segments that no one thought existed.”

Marape has asked Telstra to consider future ownership structures which could represent strong and reputable participation of PNG institutions and investors, leveraging off on the strong branding that Telstra brings to the market, and on commercial terms.

He stressed that telecommunications services were critical to the country’s social and economic development.

“Our government remains steadfast in its determination to further liberalise our communications market, through increased competition.

“We have invested heavily in communications because of the benefits through the development of more affordable, reliable and accessible networks, said PM Marape…. PACNEWS

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