Landowners refuse to settle debt

National, Normal

LANDOWNERS in  Southern Highlands province are refusing to pay the car rental fees they accrued during the licence-based benefits sharing agreement (LBBSA) forum two months ago. Landowners say they do not have the money to repay the debt.
They are calling on the National Government to settle all outstanding claims by service providers.
Komo local level government president Thomas Potape said that vehicle owners were following landowners into Port Moresby to try and reclaim their outstanding debts.
The vehicles were hired at a rate of K800 to K900 a day.
Mr Potape said landowners were given approval to hire the cars by the Department of Petroleum and Energy. 
“These hire car payments were supposed to be sorted out in Hides after the LBBSA feast to celebrate the LBBSA signings,” he said.
Hundreds of pigs were slaughtered in return for the vehicles, he said. 
Mr Potape said most of the vehicle owners were from Mt Hagen and Enga provinces.
The Government must pay these outstanding claims which is less than K100,000 before we go back for the launching of the Incorporated Land Groups (ILG’s),” Mr Potape said.