AT a recent PNG LNG project negotiation, huge opportunities were created with developers calling it as ‘opportunities not to be missed’.
Because of the hype and about 20,000 workforce, the food requirements and people that would be engaged to work is concern.
The Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) and Commerce has held so many meetings.
We even amended the Slaughter Act for halal meat and emptied all cows from Government ranches, including dreams of new state of art abattoirs.
Well, the LNG project came and went with most food items imported and workers exempted and imported as well.
This also applies to the Ramu NiCo project too.
Now I can’t see any vegetable growers or poultry farms in Southern Highlands, Hela, Gulf and Central.
Once again, no technical college was built or left in the footprint areas. All they left were pipes, taking away the people’s dream to Caution Bay.
That’s where some benefits are flowing for some people in terms of road, employment, electricity and water etc…
So let us ask our Government not to repeat it again in the Wafi Golpu, Papua LNG, Pasca A Gas Project and now P’nyang Project and Pandora that is coming up.
The Review of Porgera, Ramu, Kainantu and Hidden Valley should change the way we sign agreements and various plans such as business, education and training plans, environment and cultural heritage plans and mine closure plans.
We must let these companies buy local food from the area and then the province, then region and later other parts of Papua New Guinea.
They must build TVET Centres, primary industry colleges and technical education institutions to leave behind for people to deal with non-extractive resources.
The Government should ensure the developers perform according to requirements. Commerce and industry and DAL should confirm the number of locals who are supplying fresh food and who are supplying local made materials such as timber, detergents, chemicals, furniture etc…
Let’s not just sign Local Content Plan and Education and Training Plan on paper. I have seen some business people emerging from the construction of Okuk Highway in the 1980s, 20ha blocks scheme, Stret Pasin Stoa Scheme, Business Groups Programme but yet to see individual Papua New Guinea businessman from Kainantu and Hidden Valley Mines, PNG LNG Project.
I cannot say much of Misima, Lihir, Porgera and Ok Tedi as I didn’t spend enough time observing.
For now, we must have clear focus and result-driven plans and memorandums of agreement (MoA).
For example, three years ago, Wafi Golpu, Papua LNG, Pasca Gas, Kainantu Mining, Ramu 2 Hydro Scheme should have been engaged in education and training of landowners in up-skilling them and also getting them to know what was expected of them.
Only in PNG, the State and developer would ambush landowners and affected communities in development forum and lay down all the plans and then sign the Agreement.
By then, when the project starts in 2020 upon signing of agreement, they don’t have anyone educated or trained from the area or no one has a Fuso or Dyna or Twin Steer truck to haul fuel or cargo.
The National Content Plan or even the MoA look standard across the board.
Ask the Department of Commerce and they would not even answer which local business they created or Labour and Employment as per Education and Training Plan, as to who are now managers or superintendents or senior officers.
We have been signing paper plans if construction for Papua LNG and Wafi Golpu is three years from signing, no one would have completed a college or university.
Or while one is looking for K700,000 to buy a Twin Steer truck, the project construction and need for fuel haulage would have ended.
We should be identifying the trucks required, security services and good providers right now.
Not after the development agreement and MoA are signed.
For those interested, they should read the Bulolo District Development Authority-funded “Benefit Sharing Arrangements in Resource Projects” published by the National Research Institute and also “Lode Sharing in Porgera” to see the effects of actual compliance or implementation of MoAs in project agreements.
Wilson Thompson, ML,
Accountant & Tax Agent,
President – Farmers & Settlers Association Inc