Monday, March 05, 2012

Government plans to stop cash payments for landowners

THE government plans to stop cash payments for landowner benefits accruing from resource developments, The National reports.
 Prime Minister Peter O’Neill also said if any payments were to be made, they must be done in each licenced area – and not in Port Moresby.
Vulupindi Haus, Waigani, know as the "House of Thieves", now, "House of Landowners"
Road along Vulupindi Haus, Waigani. Note the trees at left, which have had all their leaves and branches cut off by "landowners". Does money grow on trees?

These will be among stringent guidelines contained in a major policy on the issue to be announced this week following final consultations between O’Neill and landowners tomorrow.
O’Neill said the policy would streamline, simplify and specify payment procedures for all benefits accruing under resource development agreements and in particular the LNG project’s umbrella benefits sharing agreement (UBSA) and the licence-based bene­fits sharing agreements  (LBBSA).
“We are going to simplify it and do it in accordance with the law,” he said.
“There will be absolutely no cash handouts.
“We will agree to a way forward and that should resolve many of the landow­ner issues.
“After cabinet has made a decision on Wednesday on the proposed structure and a way of dealing with the issue, any disruption of government assets or go­vernment services (by landowners) will become a law and order issue.
“Both the landowners and the government must respect any agreement that they signed.
“Any issue of landowner benefits must be in accor­dance with the law and the agreement.”
The policy will also cover the role and functions of the expenditure implementation committee which oversees much of the payment pro­cess

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