By GENO NAU-BUGA
THE ABSENSCE of a proper banking service in Kerema town in Gulf province is causing town residents and the local people to risk their lives travelling all the way to Port Moresby.
Since the major bank robbery at the Bank South Pacific branch in Kerema in mid 2007, allegedly by the country's most wanted man William Kapris and his accomplishes, the town residents, small businesses and even the local people have been without proper banking services.
These mostly innocent people of Kerema and Gulf province were literally denied of the basic service that makes the world go round.
A frustrated senior public servant told Sunday Chronicle that people from Kerema and even parts of Gulf province are travelling by PMVs and even dingy loads out of Kerema to seek banking services in Port Moresby.
He said even during rough weather these people risk their lives travelling all the way to Port Moresby in order to get enough cash to sustain their living with their families.
He further stated that there are instances where public servants during their trips to Port Moresby spend a week or so and skip their duties.
He stated that currently Kerema town residents, mostly public servants especially teachers, health workers and provincial public servants are travelling to Port Moresby to do banking because a BSP bank agent is charging hefty fees.
Moreover, there were many instances where the bank agency does not have enough cash to provide to its customers.
Currently Kerema Traders is acting as BSP banking agency in Kerema town. It charges certain service fees on both withdrawals and deposits to customers who utilize its facility.
"We pay a fee of K6 when we withdraw cash amounts between K100 and K500 and a fee of K9 if we want to withdraw amounts between K500 and K1000," he said.
"There have been times when we arrive later in the morning to be told that the bank agency does not have enough cash so we need to come back tomorrow," he added.
The senior public servant and his colleagues are calling on the Gulf Governor, Havila Kavo and Kerema MP, Pitom Bombom to intervene in order to assist the people who desperately need the services to be restored.
He said the Governor Kavo during the launching of Seagull Finance Limited last September in Kerema committed to bring ATM machines to the town to serve the people. However, so far nothing has eventuated.