Cases in court holding up payment: Pok

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By GYNNIE KERO
PETROLEUM and Energy Minister Dr Fabian Pok says the number of landowner-related cases in the PNG LNG project areas pending in court was delaying the payment of benefits.
He reassured the landowners that more than K300 million belonging to them remained “untouched” at the Bank of PNG.
He said the verification process for the landowner beneficiaries identification held earlier this year for two petroleum development license areas (PDL1 and PDL 7) had been completed.
“The exercise is over. (But) we are reliably informed that there are court cases pending,” he said.
“We don’t want any blanket arrangement regarding benefit payments to landowners. I’ve informed the department that whichever clans did not take matters to court will receive their payments.”
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had earlier said receipts from the multi-billion kina PNG LNG project should start flowing in once all loans were repaid in 2022.
“In 2022, we will have repaid all our debts from PNG LNG and some good revenue will start flowing into our country,” he said.
O’Neill said this week that the Government would undertake several major policy reforms in response to the call by the people.
In particular, he said adjustments would be made in the way Government had been collecting revenue in the country. It means that some of the Kumul Holdings structures such as Kumul Petroleum and Kumul Minerals will be restructured.
“We will also be doing an extensive review of the Mining and Petroleum Act, and of course the Oil and Gas act as well,” he said.

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