Privatisation has also been pushed via bilateral aid programs and many bilateral and regional trade agreements that incorporate some form of privatisation. For example, the Australian government has played an active role in pushing for privatisation in Papua New Guinea despite its unpopularity amongst PNG citizens.
PNG spends about 40% of its annual budget ($400 million) servicing its debt. The IMF and the World Bank require the PNG government to cut other government spending and to sell off public enterprises so that it will have enough money to service the debt. In 2000 Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta agreed to public sector reform and privatisation of state enterprises, including Elcom, in return for a promised $US200 million in additional loans from the World Bank. The promised funds were withheld in 2001 because of delays in the privatisation schedule.
This program of public sector reform and privatisation is reinforced by the Australian government. As part of its aid program for PNG, which amounts to about $300 million each year, AusAID has a governance program which includes promoting private sector reform and privatisation. Privatisation in PNG offers many opportunities for Australian investors and consultants. In September 2000 a major summit was held in Sydney to outline these opportunities to fund managers, analysts, stockbrokers, government officials, potential investors and consultants, including engineering consultants. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, all the privatisation project managers in PNG are Australian.