Call for transparency on awarding contracts

Business

By PETER ESILA
There must be transparency of contracts in the resource sector, says Institute of National
Affairs director Paul Barker, pictured.
He said during the World Bank Papua New Guinea Economic Update in Port Moresby yesterday that there must be transparency in the awarding of contracts.
“I know that some of the resources companies do not want that,” Barker said.
“We do need to make sure that we know all of government, and the affected communities as well, knows all about what is in those contracts.”
Barker said Papua New Guinea, which was resource-rich, was now depending on personal income tax and business tax to drive the economy.
“In the last few years, we have seen something like 40 per cent of revenue coming from the extractive sector,” he said.
“In the last couple of years, it was down to one per cent.
“The revenue has been coming from personal income tax and from the rest of the business community.
“We are a resource-rich country but not getting the key benefits that we need.”
Barker said there were so many mining, oil and gas agreements “and it really is pretty fundamental that all key players in Government, but also
the public, has a good understanding of what is in those agreements”.
He said resource companies did not want to share a lot of those information because of competition.
“Some information is confidential, but nevertheless it is important and it is one of the requirements that into the future of the extractive industry, transparency initiatives are a must,” Barker said.
“If we are a resource rich country, the main benefit is from revenue.
“We are not getting revenue.
“Maybe we are not negotiating those agreements to the best interest.
“Maybe if there were was more transparency, there would be greater strength for our negotiating team on the Government part and to negotiate more rigorously.”

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