Biggest oil palm state mulled

Business, Normal

The National, Wednesday March 5th, 2014

 THE government will develop the country’s biggest oil palm project in Yangoru-Saussia, East Sepik which is projected to bring an investment of K6 billion for over 10 years.

Trade Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru (pictured) announced this when he visited the district last weekend.

Maru was accompanied by Department of Works Secretary David Wereh and Angoram MP Salio Waipo.

Maru invited Wereh to see the road works carried out by his department in the impacted areas of the multi-billion kina oil palm project and the need for more bridges and road equipment to boost the capacity of the Works Department to build a further 100km of roads in the Sepik Plains.

The project was expected to cover three other districts, including Angoram, Maprik and Wosera-Gawi.

Maru said: “Under the project arrangement, the government will allocate funding of K100 million for infrastructure to support this project.

“Targeted infrastructure included roads, power lines, bridges and the Wewak international wharf.”

Maru said the developer’s commitment was to bring a minimum of  K3.5 billion to develop 100,000ha of oil palm in phase one while phase two would cover another 100,000ha for a total funding of K6 billion for over 10 years of developing the plantation.

This project would also include a palm oil refinery in Wewak.

“The construction of roads and bridges will make it possible for the government to access land, conduct surveys and mobilise the people in preparation for the project. 

“Because we need roads and bridges, the district has decided to engage the Department of Works as the contractor,” Maru said.

“On electricity, the government has allocated an initial amount of K2 million to the PNG Power Ltd to install power poles and lines for the first 12km. 

“We are waiting for the submission of further costs from PNG Power so additional funding could be made available through the Department of National Planning,” Maru said.

Maru further highlighted that the project was expected to generate 20,000 direct employments. 

Meanwhile, he said the State negotiating team and parties to the project agreement would be meeting with developer Wilma International Company Ltd on Friday to finalise negotiations leading to the finalisation of an agreement.

The meeting would be followed by a visit to the project site. 

Minister Maru stressed that once the negotiations were completed, the terms of the state agreement would go before the National Executive Council for approval. 

“Once NEC approves the terms of the state agreement, parties will then sign the agreement and the project will immediately commence,” Maru said.