Sunday, March 01, 2020

PM Marape commends PNG oil palm company for work in Solomon Islands

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has commended Papua New Guinea company New Britain Palm Oil Ltd (NBPOL) for the work it is doing in the Solomon Islands.
He said this after meeting management and staff, and visiting facilities, at NBPOL’s Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd (GPPOL) outside Honiara on Friday.
PM Marape checks out fruit at the GPPOL facility outside Honiara on Friday. 

GPPOL, which used NBPOL management and expertise from West New Britain to start off, is now one of the biggest export revenue earners for Solomon Islands.
Lab Superintendent Lawrence Heromate (left) takes PM Marape through the palm oil process at GPPOL on Friday. 

It is also allowing 20 per cent landowner participation in the business, something that PM Marape applauded, saying it should set the benchmark for other PNG companies wanting to invest in Solomon Islands.
Children of employees, waving PNG flags along the roadside, welcomed PM Marape to GPPOL on Friday.
PNG flag-waving children welcome PM Marape to GPPOL outside Honiara on Friday.

“We want to allow for this sort of business to grow (in Solomon Islands),” PM Marape told GPPOL management and staff.
“I am happy about the way in which this company has allowed for local participation, SME involvement, even locals holding equity in the business.
“It’s a good model which is happening.”
GPPOL General-Manager Craig Gibsone said the company was the Solomon Islands’ operation of NBPOL.
“We’re a lot smaller than New Britain Palm Oil,” he said.
“It’s 7000 hectares, with just under 7000 (ha) is the estate and the smallholders 700 (ha).
“We produce about 160,000 tonnes of fruit every year and we export 40,000 tonnes of oil.
“We have 1300 to 1500 employees and run a mill.”
Mr Gibsone said GPPOL had been operating in Solomon Islands since 2005 after taking over from the previous owner.
“NBPOL came in and rehabilitated those estates,” he said.
“While production started after one year, it actually took over five years before the full rehabilitation was completed.
“NBPOL owns 80 per cent and the local landowners own 20 per cent.
“We don’t own any land: We lease the land off the landowners.
“They benefit through rentals, royalties, and when the company makes a profit and declares a dividend, they’re entitled to 20 per cent of that.
“Them (landowners) being supportive of the project is key to our success.”

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