HGDC among top employers of locals

Business, Normal

The National, Wednesday 23rd November 2011

HIDES Gas Development Co Ltd – an umbrella company of the upstream section of the PNG LNG project – is among the top employers of Papua New Guineans in the resources development sector.
It has a workforce of more than 2,000 skilled and unskilled workers who are engaged with various contractors in the project.
When the project reaches its peak by the middle of next year, the total number of employees engaged is expected to increase to “3,000 or even reach 4,000,” a company statement said yesterday.
As a requirement for any company employing more than 15 staff, HGDC had formalised its membership with National Superannuation Fund Ltd (Nasfund) to fortnightly contribute on behalf of the growing staff, HGDC said.
“HGDC is also becoming one of the largest contributors to the fund.
“The increasing number of employees engaged with the upstream operations of the PNG LNG project has prompted Nasfund to immediately open an office in Tari where contributors can have easy access to when they enquire about their savings,” it said.
“Since the construction phase of the LNG project is short-term, all employees will be contributing to Nasfund from day one instead of the usual probation period of three months.
“This will ensure that they have some form of saving after the construction phase of the project winds down,” chairman of HGDC Libe Parindali said.
Parindali said with a workforce of such magnitude and given the urgency to deliver first gas by 2014, HGDC had a mammoth task ahead to ensure that “while we do our part to deliver PNG’s first LNG project, we also fulfil our role as an umbrella landowner company and pay dividends to our shareholders.
 “As chairman of the company, I would like every landowner from Benaria Pipeline, Angore, Juha, Hides PDL 1, Hides PDL-7, Komo Airport, Kobalu Camp  and the Heavy Haul Road to take ownership of the PNG LNG project and look after it.
 “The project will be here for the next 30 to 40 years and benefits to the landowners are guaranteed in the project life if we look after the project,” Parindali said.
He said there were appropriate processes to follow if landowners had issues instead of resolving to disrupt the project.
 “Resolving to disrupt the project must cease,” Parindali said.
He said the project was a learning curve for the landowners so that issues were adequately addressed and benefits shared equitably “so that we achieve a win-win scenario for every stakeholders including the landowners, the State and the developers”.
Parindali said HGDC will grow and ensure would to the shareholders were maximised over the years ahead.
“ I would like to see our landowners look after HGDC as it represents all regional landowner companies in upstream sector of the PNG LNG project.
“We will participate in all the business opportunities that are available to us and where possible, we will venture into strategic joint venture partnerships to participate in business opportunities out of the five reserved areas,” he said.
HGDC, in conjunction with business partners, is in the early stages of deve­loping a range of ser­vices, a supermarket and other public utilities that would ultimately transform Para (where HGDC camp is located) into a modern town.