Govt to probe palm oil operators

Islands, Normal

The National, Tuesday October 29th, 2013


THE Government will investigate a complaint from Lakurumau villagers in New Ireland about the operation of New Britain Palm Oil, operator of the Poliamba Estate Oil Palm Company.

Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Richard Maru, pictured, said yesterday on his return from Kavieng an investigation would be carried out.

“The people complained that the project has been in operation for 22 years but there is no electricity and water supply to the village,” Maru said. 

Lakurumau village is about one kilometre from the oil palm project site. 

“It is unacceptable to see people continue to suffer even after giving up all their land for business development purposes.

“How is it possible that any foreign company can come in and run businesses but could not provide basic  services to the very people who have given up their land for development? 

“A lousy K200,000 can be used to bring in electricity supply to the Lukurumau people. 

“Twenty-two years is enough time for the people to be provided that basic service,” Maru said.

He said he was not only blaming NBPOL but there were two companies operating the Poliamba Oil Palm Estate before NBPOL took over.

He said those companies should have made sure that the people were provided basic services. 

Maru said Governor for New Ireland, Sir Julius Chan  supported investigations into the operations of Poliamba Estate Oil Palm Company because since its establishment, no dividend  had been paid to the New Ireland provincial government.