SABL making progress

National

LANDS and Physical Planning Minister Benny Allan says his department is dealing with the controversial Special Agriculture Leases (SABL) issue.
He said they were actively working to address the issue and had made “tremendous progress to date”.
“We are committed to this task and have made positive progress in implementing the prime minister (Peter O’Neill) and the National Executive Council’s decision and instructions to cancel all SABLs in the country,” Allan said.
“We have not merely cancelled SABLs, we have gone further to establishing a process to converting these SABLs into customary land leases through the Incorporated Landowner Group and Voluntary Customary Lands Registration concepts and there have been a number of success stories.
“We have not been inactive as some commentators and so-called community advocacy groups may want to believe and preach.
“Nothing can be further from the truth, the ministry and the department have, since the announcement by the Prime Minister on the blanket cancellation of all SABLs, worked hard in pursuing and advancing the matter forward.
“Major among these steps is the decision by the National Executive Council on Dec 20 of last year to formally cancel all SABLs as a result of a submission the department prepared and I presented.
“The NEC, at its Special Meeting No 18/2016 and Decision No 344/2016 recognized the perpetual rights and interests of the customary landowners and for the State and developers to protect these rights and interests; and, endorsed a blanket cancellation of all SABLs throughout the country.
“Since the NEC Decision 287/2014 on the Commission of Inquiry recommendation of 2014, the Department of Lands and Physical Planning (DLPP) has to date not issued any new SABLs.
“The NEC also approved the following as the National Government’s position on SABLs:
a) All SABLs are to be surrendered to the Department of Lands & Physical Planning;
b) SABLs to be processed and converted through the Incorporated Landowner Groups (ILGs) and Voluntary Customary Land Registration System (VCLRS).
“Six success stories have emerged of this new conversion process that went through land mediation process. They include five that have created 21 new customary leases under their respective ILGs in Kandrian- Gloucester in West New Britain and one in Vanimo, West Sepik, which has created 57 different titles under their 57 ILGs.
“With these the Department of Lands & Physical Planning is now calling on all SABL holders to take note of the Governments position and visit the nearest Lands Office for further information.

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