OIL and gas-rich Gulf province has completed the first stage of taking on the challenge the developer InterOil company has for them.
The exercise of putting a possible structure in place for a district landowner umbrella association and the district landowner umbrella company was completed after three weeks of hectic consultations with various groups through awareness programmes in Ahia, Kouri Popo and Orokolo.
The two-day awareness programmes included a day of awareness and a day of formations of constituency associations and landowner companies.
The programme was the initiative of the Gulf provincial government to help the villagers get organised by getting all village-based incorporated land groups (ILG) registered as the Ihu, Baimuru and Pawaea areas are within the multi-billion oil and gas project areas.
Gulf investment trust fund managing director Soroe Eoe said the programme was crucial in getting everyone prepared to take on what was to come.
He thanked the people for their cooperation and acceptance of the challenges posed by the totally new concept.
“We do not want to be surprised by the last minute and start doing things we should not be doing, as being experienced by the Southern Highlands province.
“The programme is a success as the basic objective of forming an umbrella association and a landowner company to pave the way for any form of benefits, whether direct or indirect, to trickle all the way down to the people was peacefully achieved,” he said.
The whole district of Ihu is a project impact area and the structures that are now in place will ensure that everyone gets the maximum benefit.
He advised landowner groups who had yet to register their groups to see the area chairmen of Ahia, Kouri, Popo and Orokolo as they will be the only contacts to collect and forward ILG forms for registration.