Little to show from benefits made, says exec

Business, Normal

The National, Monday 05th December 2011

DESPITE many years of mineral and petroleum activities in PNG, the host provinces have very little to show for all the benefits derived from the projects, the mining and petroleum seminar was told in Port Moresby last week.
General manager, community and external affairs for Oil Search Ltd Willie Kupo said this when talking about social programmes and development.
He said half of the children aged between eight and 14 years old did not attend schools and a third of births took place outside of a medical facility.
He said the people were still without clean water supply and other basic infrastructure.
Kupo said proper planning and coordination were key factors in ensuring that development funds generated from mining and petroleum activities were put into proper use.
 “Public servants are not properly trained, so we need to start looking at ways to provide capacity building for them,” he said.
Kupo said Oil Search Ltd, like all other major resource developers and operators in PNG, carried out a range of social development programmes in its project area that were not specifically mandated under any legislation.
He said the company had provided education sponsorship for students, donations and small scale sweat-equity projects.
 agriculture extension, community public health support, NGO support, local business development and management of tax credit funds.
Kupo said OSL spent K150 million a year on these various project, documented in various reports.
However, Kupo said what it was more important was how development funds from all sources are applied.
He said there should be coordination to ensure that there was sufficient planning and project management capabilities at all levels of government, as at present this was almost non-existent in most areas.
He said petroleum operators could be active partners with other stakeholders in carrying out social programmes to ensure that communities are tangibly better off after petroleum development than before.
He said companies cannot do this on their own and needed support from the local, provincial and national governments.
“Real social programme development would only happen if there is proper planning at all levels of government,” Kupo said.