Govt keen to pay off landowners

National

By MALUM NALU
THE government is committed to paying off all outstanding benefits from the PNG LNG Project to landowners, says Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel.
He said this yesterday after outlining the 100-day plan on the NBC radio talkback show.
Freeing up landowner benefits at PNG LNG Project and Ok Tedi Mine is one of the 25 points in the plan.
Landowners of the PNG LNG Project in Central were supposed to have received K15 million this week as their royalty payment. But it was held back to give time to Petroleum and Energy Minister Fabian Pok time to study the benefit payments. Officials said all benefits would be paid when all outstanding issues including clan-vetting had been resolved.
Abel told The National yesterday it was something “that is in the hands of our Petroleum Minister (Dr Fabian Pok)”.
“He’s handling this matter and with due sensitivity. The government wants to pay landowners their dues. But there are court cases and all these other things that we have to bear in mind.
“I’m just hopeful that we can get a resolution quickly, complete the clan-vetting and whatever, and get the money out to the people.
“Our people in the plant site and pipeline areas have every entitlement to receive their money as well.
“But we need to support the clan-vetting exercise and get it done by this year. It’s in the 100-day plan.
“We’re talking about releasing those monies, and we’re talking about giving some money in the Supplementary Budget to support the completion of that exercise.”

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