Landowners threaten delay of LNG project over MoA funds

National, Normal

KUTUBU landowners want the Government to pay their “outstanding” memorandum of agreement (MoA) funds before the licenced-based development forums can take place in their villages in Southern Highlands province later this month.
They welcomed a recent announcement by Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma that K60 million has been set aside for the forums, termed as Licenced-Based Benefit Sharing Agreement (LBBSA) forums.
Asi Ibusubu, general-secretary of the Foe Association Incorporated, said last Friday the promised funds were “overdue and outstanding commitments to be paid out before we participate in the forums”.
“We are key stakeholders in this landmark projects, and we do not want to be denied the benefits that are rightfully ours.”
He wants the Government to immediately settle the Kutubu Petroleum Development Agreement; all outstanding monies promised from the Kokopo Benefits Sharing Agreement and settle business development grants.
The concern is that the Government’s delay will cause discontent among landowners and may put the multi-billion LNG project into an unforeseen delay.
Meanwhile, other Kutubu landowners will be going to the National Court today to put a halt on the development forums scheduled to commence later this week.