Imperative to explain the benefits of SABL

Letters, Normal

The National, Tuesday 15th November 2011

I REFER to the Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABL) which is making headlines recently.
I understand some customary lands were ac­quired under SABL without proper consultation with the indigenous people.
Failure to involve land­owners will haunt projects in the future and prevent their smooth progress.
History has taught us that many important pro­jects were stalled due to a lack of involvement of the landowners.
However, successive governments have failed miserably when it comes to dealing with landowners on important projects.
Whether the government likes it or not, it has to learn to deal with landowner issues because 97% of the land is under customary landownership.
Likewise landowners have to learn to cooperate with the government and allow due process to be followed when ushering in development involving their land.
This brings me to my point about the nature of SABL.
Can the concerned authorities educate the people about what a SABL is and what potential benefits it will bring before marching ahead with its implementation?
If the concerned autho­rities think that SABL is the way forward, they need to justify how it will benefit the landowners without alienating them.

Eugene Kambut
Port Moresby