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World class resources need world class governance

JOE FORMEX WASIA

Huge AN-124a makes first official landing at new Komo International AirportPAPUA NEW GUINEA IS A COUNTRY richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation in the past was hampered by the rugged terrain and the high cost of developing infrastructure.

Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for the bulk of the population but minerals, including oil, natural gas, copper, gold and nickel, account for more than 70% of export earnings.

For years many mining companies have been developing mining projects, but the oil and gas industry is not very familiar although, for 21 years, PNG has had the Kutubu Oil project 650 kilometres north-east of Port Moresby.

Much talked about now is PNG’s impending liquefied natural gas project in Hela Province - the second oil and gas project and a giant one.

LNG pipelineThe PNG LNG project is operated by Esso Highlands Limited, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation, in joint venture with Oil Search, PNG’s largest oil and gas producer, the PNG government’s Independent Public Business Corporation and other companies.

Everyone, including the government and people of PNG, has high expectations and hopes for a better future as the Gross Domestic Product is expected to double as PNG LNG moves into it operational stage.

However, the problem of mismanagement and corruption by elected leaders and their cronies and bureaucrats remains unresolved.

We cannot expect miracles from heaven if we are not accountable in handling the billions of kina from existing projects and other revenue sources in PNG.

LNG plant constructionWe have a few other oil and gas projects coming up. Gulf LNG will be developed by Inter Oil and the PNG government, Western LNG by Talisman Energy and some others. In the mining industry, as the same time, new projects are mushrooming everywhere.

It’s about time we managed these massive funds with transparency, integrity and with good governance. If we continue to fail in this area we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Comments

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Ben Akuani

We can't only blamed the government and their cronies and bureaucrats for all this shit. If we want to promote good governance, I feel that we should reform our three institutions: state, private sector and civil society.

Francis Nii

Like I stated in my article 'Tougher criminal laws are long overdue', PM O'Neill should have included white collar crimes like official corruption in his proposed tougher laws on crimes like murder, rape etc.

At the moment laws governing white collar crimes are cumbersome and very lenient toward to the law makers who are the perpetrators to save their own arses.

Laws on official corruption and so-called leadership code should be amended and toughened. 50-year prison should be the ultimate penalty.

Mrs Barbara Short

I agree but the companies themselves need to have strong public relations departments with the ability to see the needs of the local communities.

They need to employ people who understand the culture of the local people and are able to see the correct ways that money from the mine can go to help the ordinary people who live in the mine area, especially the people on whose land the mine has been built.

These people have made a huge sacrifice. Help should go directly to these people, not necessarily via the government.

I feel it is up to the mining company to do something constructive and develop good relations with the people who own the land.

They should not think that the government will do it. It obviously isn't happening with Ramu Nickel.

They should also learn from the mistakes made by BCL on Bougainville. Leonard Roka may be able to help them here!

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