THE AHI landowners were recently told by the fisheries minister in Lae that their interest and wellbeing were not taken into account in the initial agreements signed between the State and the respective investors and that NFA was not a signatory to these agreements for the establishment of canneries.
He admits, and I quote, “any landowner participation through equity or spin-off business opportunities should be provided in the State agreement or the land use agreement signed by all parties and it was in the interest and security of any project that landowners are offered meaningful participation in the development of resources”.
It is a shame that both NFA and the fisheries ministry failed the very people whose resources were exploited.
How can we trust a government that fails to ensure that appropriate legislature was put in place to protect the resource owners, the very people whose livelihood is affected and or altered one way or another by the project?
For the NFA, the key government agency set up to regulate the industry, to admit that they were not a party in the initial agreements is unacceptable and considered professional negligence on the part of professionals employed to safeguard the interest and well-being of Papua New Guineans.
How much longer are we going to be robbed of life-changing benefits that are entitled to our resource owners when our own people appointed as legislators and regulators fail to read between the lines?