Government must take blame

Letters, Normal

I REFER to the letter “Another word for greed – landowner” (The National, Sept 25) by “Land dwellers”.
It seems simplistic for the writer to describe landowners (and others) who support the amendments to the Mining Act (1992) and Oil and Gas Act (1998), as “greedy”.
I agree the amendments would raise serious questions on accountability and transparency.
However, the writer did not ask why many resource owners are supporting the proposed bill.
The underlying issue is the Government.
Since Independence, the Government has failed:
* To manage and allocate resource revenue;
* To implement structural development in the project affected areas; and 
* To distribute wealth around the country equally.
To date, the Government’s record has been dismal.
Many people also do not understand that resource owners are apportioned a minor share in the overall equity structure.
For example, many resource owners in Southern Highlands are awarded a meager 2% equity stake in the profits (managed by MRDC – a Government-owned entity) – whilst the Government takes up 20%.
The remaining 78% equity is awarded to the project investment partners.
So to say landowners are “greedy” lacks substance.
I believe the issue is not the amount of equity landowners receive, but how that equity is being expanded on for projects within the local community.
The writer’s other observation about disruptions to the projects by these “greedy” landowners only demonstrates a lack of knowledge and understanding of the outstanding issues concerning the Government and landowners.
In all resource projects in PNG, there are three fundamental partners – the Government, developers and landowners.
On many occasions, there is a lack of “effective” consultations between the three partners concerning business development, environmental impact and other social development factors.
As such, many landowners do not trust the developers and Government and we end up with continual project disruptions.
Taking a simple view that landowners are “ignorant, lazy, selfish, greedy and unproductive people whose sole aim is to have as many wives as possible, shows the writer’s ignorance and lack of understanding.


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