Autonomy, seabed mining high in Konga, Chan talk

National

EAST New Britain Governor Nakikus Konga will meet his New Ireland counterpart Sir Julius Chan today to discuss autonomy and seabed mining.
Discussions have been on-going between the two regarding a benefits sharing agreement on seabed mining to be done by Nautilus Minerals and how best the two provinces can push for autonomy.
Speaking on the seabed mine, Konga said this may be the final meeting on benefit sharing between the provinces and if all went well, both provinces would benefit greatly from the mine.
“Benefits from the mine rightfully belong to the people, so it is the prerogative of both provincial governments  to ensure the benefits go down to the people,” said Konga.
“This meeting is to pave the way for such to happen.”
The subject of autonomy is of special interest to both provinces and discussions held during the meeting will pave the way for the direction the current regime under the two governors will take to further their cause.
“We want greater autonomy politically, administratively and economically.
“It’s not about breaking away from PNG but about acquiring the necessary powers for economy building and a system of government that will enable meaningful development and progress for ENB and NI as provinces.”
Konga said the push for autonomy stemmed from the fact that there has been progressive deterioration of social and economic conditions in the provinces, as well as a further decline in living standards under the present Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Governments.
A team comprising the chairman of the ENB Autonomy Committee Sir Ronald ToVue, provincial administrator Wilson Matava and others will be accompanying Governor Konga to the meeting in Kavieng, New Ireland.

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