Land security crucial to investor confidence: PM


INVESTORS needed the assurance of landowners and communities to continue to invest in the country, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
O’Neill told the inaugural agriculture summit yesterday in Port Moresby that investors should be guaranteed security over the land and investments they were making.
“It is equally important that when you look around globally, more and more countries are thinking about food security. We are overly dependent on imports. We need to have import replacement programmes,” O’Neill said.
“Government has a limited role to play as well. What the private sector needs from Papua New Guinea, our communities and our landowners is the security – security of the investment.
“They don’t want people to be bothering them every day, and crops are starting to grow, when production has reached its first year, everybody thinks that they are making too much money already.
“This is a long-term investment. Agriculture takes years to grow. And of course, return on investments to be received by the investors. So we need to provide that security.”
He said landowners should be partners in any investment.
“We are unique people in the world where 97 per cent of the land is owned by the people.
“We need them to be partners with the private sector. They should become partners so they take ownership, ownership of the projects that are in their land.
“Over the past five years, the government has gone into certain projects as equity partner. Not that we as Government want to be shareholder and want to own everything.
“But we want to give the investors confidence, that they have a stable Government that can drive this particular project and when it’s successful, we will get out and try allow our own Papua New Guineans to try and buy into it.”