Communities not benefitting: Official


COMMUNITIES in the maritime provinces are not benefiting fully from their marine resources because the organic law does not specify national and provincial interests, says an official.
“The organic law on provincial and local level governments has not been very conducive to bringing benefits to maritime provinces in a very long time,” National Fisheries Authority (NFA) PNG Maritime Boundaries coordinator Masio Nidung said.
“Because of the way the law is structured, the provinces have been constrained by the lack of clear definitions to what they can or cannot do,” he said. “For instance, the organic law states that fisheries and fishing can be regulated but if it is a large scale project, the provinces cannot do it and it falls back on the national government.
“This is one of the constraints and if you look at it carefully, it is not just fisheries but mining, oil and gas, and forestry as well.”
Nidung said the country had a decentralised system of government with the national, provincial and local governments and the organic law outlined
the power sharing between them.
“In terms of the governance of the ocean, it has to be managed through the Maritime Act because the provinces are not really delegated that task and it is left to the national government,” he said.
“When you are dealing with developments that are happening in the provinces, the interest of the people right through to the community level needs to be considered and clear definitions needs to be made.”
Nidung said currently the Government was mandated by law to govern the internal waters but there was no indication as to what internal waters
were and for provinces to benefit, clear definitions needed to be made.