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Amend laws governing our natural resources

BY JOE WASIA

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.

Comments

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Joe Wasia

Thanks Reg. That's true. We must remove the whole lot when we exercise our constitutional rights in 2012.

I want to quote a few statements made by anti-Environment Act protesters in Madang a week ago: "No more National Alliance candidates in my district in 2012 as NA is corrupting the whole system". "Honestly speaking, I will sacrifice myself on him or her".

Another said: "Sapos wanpela NA kam lo 2012 eleksen lo district blo mi, honest, mi bai katim em lo bullet, ino knive" [If a NA candidate comes to my district in 2012 election, I will split him with bullets, not a knife].

While thanking them for expressing their frustrations on the way NA government is ruling this nation as a dictatorship kind of government, I think the proper way we should remove them is through exercising our democratic rights provided by the constitution of PNG.

Using threats or other means will never save this nation but add more fuel.

Why are we blindly voting those ill-minded, self-centered and selfish leaders into the parliament?

I think PNG is a Melanesian society having Melanesian culture and traditions. We hardly vote for people than our own tribemen, relatives, cousins and uncles who contest elections. Therefore we are heading for destruction.

In 2012 we have to go for real leaders who are God fearing and of unquestionable integrity. No more uncle or cousin business if we really want this nation to get back on track.

Only when we have good leaders leading the nation, people will rejoice.

Reginald Renagi

Self-interest is what they are serving, Kaiam. The whole mob needs to be demobbed (decommissioned) in 2012!

Kaiam Bees

Thanks Joe. You have stated some important points here regarding the current controversial issues facing the nation of PNG.

It is true, we do not have to amend the Environment Act and Ombudsman Act as they are already protecting the interests of PNGeans.

Instead, the Oil and Gas Act and Mining Act need amendment. Leaders (Opposition and Government) need to dig deep through consultation, debates, professional advice etc before any laws are amended.

Almost 109 coconuts have lost the plot on these issues. And that rejects the trust the people have in them.

Whose interests are they serving?

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