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PNG government to buy Chinese IT systems


THE PNG GOVERNMENT is to borrow K151 million from a Chinese bank to buy  IT systems from Huawei Technologies, a company the Pentagon says has close ties with the Chinese military.

According to news reports, Huawei was investigated by the US government over a planned merger with a US company which was determined as potentially able to undermine US national security.

So Chinese money is being provided to buy Chinese IT systems for use by the PNG government. What's in this deal for the Middle Kingdom (a term referring to the traditional Chinese view that it is the centre of the world).

There is much reliance on software systems these days - salaries, leave, loan repayments, bank accounts, tax payments, email communications, data storage, the list goes on.

All aspects of professional or personal life are available to anyone who has access to the system. Should the system close down, absolute chaos can result.

Then there's maintenance, archiving, upgrades and operational expenses.

Once a system is installed it’s very difficult to change it for something else.

Gosh! It begins to sound like a monopoly, doesn't it?


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Colleen Ambrose

What ever the disadvantages are for PNG,I assumed our government just had to allow Huawei to continue with the project, so that China will continue to provide soft loans and scholarships to PNG.

Australia and USA shut Huawei out as they are developed countries and hence don't need China's assistance to develop.

But as a developing country PNG also depends more on China these days.Thus it is difficult for our government to say no to Chinese companies who want to invest in PNG, even if in the long run it may not be in PNG's best interest.

The reason Australia and USA shut out Huawei is because they suspect its closeness to the Chinese government may lead to espionage problems. It is interesting to note that the UK government has no such concerns - KJ

Barbara Short

"Spooks" on ABC-TV last night involved Nigerians trying to kill off a British oil baron they felt was exploiting them and making a fortune from their oil.

The oil baron seemed to be buying some horrible nerve gas from some Russians which he was going to use to kill off millions in Lagos. I think the Chinese even got a mention!

The British Intelligence (i.e. Spooks) saved the day and foiled the plans of the oil baron. I had to laugh!

But, having read all about the struggles of the PNG people to stop being exploited by the big mining companies, it had an element of relevancy.

"Spooks" rely a lot on IT and if a country allows another country to set up their communication system they are asking for trouble!

Nichson Piakal

Indeed there has been too many strange happenings of late. Too many for comfort that I am losing sleep over.

My warning bells went off some time ago the day I heard the Governor-General's residence was to be renovated free of charge by a Chinese company.

It did not settle well with me and I complained then that we were compromising our national security in allowing that work to go ahead.

But this is something else. This makes the above looks like child's play. Engaging a foreign company, especially a Chinese company, to 'build' the country's IT system is the worst call by far.

We are talking communication here. A key and backbone infrastructure of any organisation or state.

Not only is our national security compromised with such a deal but, as hinted, we could make ourselves vulnerable to various shades of 'extortion' if we have to solely rely on this one proposed system for all business and communication.

I hope the NIO has not been sleeping all these time for I would surely expect them to table their analysis of this whole dodgy affair.

This proposal must be done away with at all costs if Somare and his cohorts in government really have the heart and interest for the people of Papua New Guinea as they claim to be.

Peter Kranz

There's something strange about this. The agreement with Huawei is to build an integrated government information system (IGIS) including network infrastructure.

But there is one already partly implemented in the integrated financial management system (IFMS) developed to replace the old PGAS accounting system and integrate financial systems across government departments and across the country.

The education department were also planning to piggy-back on the IFMS network to provide better computer-based teaching and learning for schools around PNG.

Whatever happened to this? Millions were spent (partly from AusAID grants) and I understood it was nearing completion some years ago.

Also the IFMS was being implemented using PNG IT companies. I understand the IGIS work is to be outsourced to Chinese companies.

PGAS dates back to when the first PNG Government computer systems were installed using ICL equipment in the '70s (a blast from the past).

Reginald Renagi

Stephen Cos is absolutely correct. This happens because PNG lacks a proper foreign investment review board or commission to act as an oversight body.

This agency will come up with a stringent set of rules or strategic criteria to ensure any foreign company passes our filter system.

In future, all foreign companies must meet national security and interests criteria before we allow them to come in and invest/do business in our country.

Mabosa Ritchie

Bit late on this discussion - I just heard the update.

The chinese company Hauwei, which got the contract to do the IGIS/egoverment project, has actually outsourced all the work to a Chinese construction company.

So not only is Chinese money (from their government bank) going to a Chinese telecommunicatons company (Huwei) to build it, but they'll be using cheap, immigrant (probably illegal) Chinese workers from a railway company to build the goverment project!

Why is no PNG company involved? This is crazyness, china just BOUGHT the PNG government, I'm off to leanr chinese now.

Stephen Cox

Those with concerns about keeping PNG information safe would do well to remember how Hewlett Packard pulled off one of the greatest intelligence coups in history by supplying copiers to the Soviets that allowed America to access Soviet documents.

The level of expertise in PNG would not be adequate to counter the risk of the Chinese doing the same thing.

It is vital for the interests of PNG, its citizens and the government to have safe and secure IT systems.

This is the greatest folly that can be committed by any government or public service department.

It is either gross incompetence, an incredibly foolhardy action or a deliberate act against the best interests of the nation and it's people.

Papua Tauna

A silly move by the Somare government for their country database will be constantly under surveillance by the Chinese (spying) to counter PNG's anticipated plans in the future.

Paul Oates

Spot on Effrey. As I maintained in a previous post, it's a sign those who do not wish to see won't acknowledge or apparently do anything about.

And that appreciation seems to apply on both sides of the Torres Strait. Anyone know any Mandarin? Bo hau?

Effrey Dademo

China monitors all its citizens communications. Note Google's decision pull out of China recently after users complained of interference in their internet communication. One such user was a very prominent Chinese human rights activist.

There were recent moves in this country to suppress public interest debate through the "regulation" of NGOs. I wonder, if this is a sign?

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