Tuesday, 16 August 2016

PNG Government delegation satisfied with gas landowner discussions in Hides over protest

PNG Government representatives comprising of Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) managing director Augustine Mano, Department of Petroleum and Energy (DPE) acting Secretary David Manoh and Government Interface Representative Ian Maru met with landowner leaders of PLD 1 and 7 on Monday. The dialogue between the state team and landowner leaders were going well and the two government representative took all the points discussed during the meeting to return to Port Moresby yesterday. Both men promised the landowners that they will come back with the answers of some of the petitions today.

The landowner leaders said that they will withdraw their protest if answers from the state are favorable. The main issues petitioned to government and were discussed including; 1). 4.27% equity share belong to landowners be released to them, 2). All payments under agreements and commitments by the Government must be paid. Government to audit how much being paid already to which company and for what projects and how much yet to be paid. The due amount shall be paid to landowners. 

Landowners said K53 million paid last year by Hela provincial government must be audited. They said this is an example funds being misused by corrupted officers and politicians and no tangible services shown for the funds paid. 3) Licensed Based Benefit Sharing Agreement (LBBSA) and Umbrella Benefit Sharing Agreement (UBSA) agreements must be reviewed. These agreements should have been reviewed in 5 years time which is 2014 but now is 7 years and the government failed to review. 4) Southern Highlands and Hela Province gas benefits must be split. Now Hela is a new province of its own, what share person should Hela get? This should be the government priority business to split the benefits. 5) Clan vetting process must be finalized and pay the royalty benefits before September this year. 

6) High impact projects including Halimbu to Nogoli bridge road sealing, and Nogoli bridge to Komo road sealing being committed by the Prime Minister must be funded. 7). Komo airport should be opened for commercial flights for domestic and international flights. National Executive Council (NEC) decision approved it but national aviation authority has to facilitate sooner. 8). Other projects include Hides 4 township, water supply, market, electricity, Para Primary School and many other projects in Hela Province mentioned in the LBBSA and UBSA must be delivered. 9) Hides 4 Special Purpose Authority made a submission through Komo Local Level Government (LLG) and the NEC which must now be granted without political interference. 

After taking this list of action items from the landowners, the Government team went fly to Port Moresby yesterday with light-hearten to diffuse the protest situation.

They will return to Hides later this week to deliver the responses from the Government.

Photo: Government representatives, from left to right: Ian Maru, Libe Paradali, Augustine Mano and David Manau leaving Hides after the successful dialogue with the landowners leaders yesterday.

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