INVESTORS IN mining, oil, gas, timber and other projects need to pay more to exploit PNG’ natural resources.
Currently PNG has very poor laws in place to protect these resources. And that’s why it has a small stake while investors and shareholders dominate.
The recent amendment on the Environment Act strips even more from the country and the people. The government has blatantly and arrogantly used its parliamentary majority to pass a dangerous piece of legislation.
Instead, the Environment Act should have been left alone and the Mining, Gas and Oil Acts amended to enable the State to acquire a 30% stake in our resources. The government’s current 19.4% equity is insufficient to meet growing demands for services in PNG.
When 19.4% is shared between the national, provincial and local level governments and landowners, it is like ten people sharing the same plate of food.
Of the proposed 30%, the national government should retain 20% with the remaining 10% given to provincial governments, LLGs and landowners of the project area.
The change will bring a long term benefit and will reshape the future of this struggling nation.
There are nothing to show from the long existing giant mines at Ok Tedi, Lihir, Bougainville, Misima and Porgera. More than half the people still live below poverty line. And this trend will continue as the newly amended Environment Act obliterated customary landowners’ rights.
Papua New Guineans are spectators under the present laws.
The boom in mining and petroleum is not forever. One day these non-renewable resources will come to an end. Now they generate billions of kina, but we will regret it when the resources are gone if this money is not managed wisely now.
This is an urgent call to the government to amend and regulate the laws that govern the natural resources, and to reconsider the Environment Act.