MoA talks this week, says Abal

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, May 17, 2011

MEMORANDUM of agreement (MoA) payments for landowners will be resolved this week, acting Prime Minister Sam Abal said yesterday.
Abal said the national executive council would decide by tomorrow on how the MoA funds would be released.
“The MoA funds have become an appetite for the media and, in two days’ time, we will make a decision on how the MoA funds will be released; and the processes to be used to put to rest the issue,” he said.
“We will make the payments through a process.”
The acting prime minister stressed that the MoA commitments were not cash handouts but targeted to projects in the licenced areas.
“It is important that when we handle large sums of money, we must ensure that they go to the pro-ject areas for their intended purpo-ses.”
Abal said, unfortunately, over a number of years, K536 million had been paid out with nothing to show on the ground.
“Most project areas are some of the least developed areas in the country and the MoA funds will target them.
“Let us get the projects done and not use middlemen to turn the pro-jects into cash.”
Abal said the people, especially resource owners, must not travel to Port Moresby for the MoA funds as these were project funds and no cash would be handed out.
Landowner leaders had welcomed the announcement by Abal.
However, they said cabinet must also deal with the outstanding ministerial commitments made at the Kokopo umbrella benefits sharing agreement forum.
They wanted both entitlements to be addressed this week.