New town on Roku land    

Ohobiduduare Holdings Limited chairman Inogo Gabe (left) receiving the two State leases from Prime Minister James Marape witnessed by Lands and Physical Planning Minister John Rosso.

A NEW setelite town will be built outside Port Moresby, in Central that aims to address the never-ending housing woes.
Affordable housing is what everyone wants and this new Napanapa pilot project – called the Tuhava Satellite Town offers 4,000 titles, a 20 minutes’ drive out of National Capital District.
Local landowner company Ohobiduduare Holdings Limited chairman Inogo Gabe was a proud man when launching the pilot project along with the Lands and Physical Planning Department and Prime Minister James Marape at Napanapa, last week.
“It gives me great pleasure, honour and privilege to stand here as chairman of Ohobiduduare Holdings Ltd, landowning company of Kuriu clan of Roku village, Hiri district of Central province,” Gabe said.
“Our land vegetation is similar to Port Moresby surroundings and it is not suitable for subsistence farming all year round because we get only about three months of rain that we are able to make gardens and grow crops like tapioca, kaukau, pumpkin and other vegetables. In the remaining months, it is dry and nothing grows.
“My father in the 1970s used to sell stones and gravel to Curtain Bros, Moiner Ltd and others wanting to make stonewalls and road works to help sustain our day-to-day needs.
“We praise and honour our almighty God for giving wisdom to those who chose Port Moresby as our capital city, which enables developments to flow to nearby customary lands.
“Ohobiduduare Holdings Ltd and Kuriu landowner company is delighted to be partners in the development of the township and also partners with other developers on our land such as Avenell Engineering Systems (AES), Oilmin Ltd, Native Industries, Hides Gas Development Corporation and Total Waste Management and of course our close partners Rhodes PNG Ltd,” Gabe said.
“To comply with the conditions of the pilot project, we are required to set up a trust fund account and land development company. The trust is so that rentals that we collect are paid into this account which is then paid out to the members, so we have the Kuriu Ohobiduduare Foundation Ltd which is currently in operation. The land development company is so that land titles can be granted to it; we have Ohobiduduare Holdings Ltd.
“Since developers moved on to our customary land in 2009 with one company Avenell Engineering Systems to now a total of 10 companies creating employment opportunities for our village people and nearby villages. This is immense, the lives of our village people have changed in the last 10 years; many clan members have good permanent houses, outboard motors and dinghies to go fishing, sell produce at markets in Port Moresby and trucks to take fishermen’s catches to the markets.
“Employment of many of our young men and women is evident every day. Truckloads of employees who live in town and commute to work on our land everyday is someting that we as landowners are grateful for as we are not only helping ourselves, we are also contributing towards nation-building by taxes that companies and employees pay to the National Government.
“Our road, the Baruni-Napanapa road is in a very bad condition. This road is a lifeline of Port Moresby as it is an economic road corridor, please can the Government do something about it.
“We are excited as landowners but also nervous because we do not have the capacity to develop such a complex project. But at the same time, we are willing as a customary landowning group, to learn on the job with all support from the partner developers, Government and development partners. That will be much appreciated.
“This is a win for the landowners and a win for the developers,” the chairman said.
Lands and Physical Planning Minister John Rosso said the Tuhava satellite town master plan was approved by the National Physical Planning Board.
“It is all about providing affordable housing, a minimum of 4,000 residential houses will be built with fully integrated developments such as schools, medical centre, a women only technical college, a mariner and so forth.
“This project led by the private sector and customary landowners will therefore provide a place to call home for many, both Papua New Guineans and foreigners. This will be a place to work, reside and raise their families.
“This project will be an economic stimulant to the local and national economy, the Napanapa pilot project hosts the largest privately-owned port in Port Moresby – AES Port.
“It houses the Rhodes Building Systems factory. It will soon host PNG’s largest industrial waste treatment plant designed and developed by Total Waste Management.
“The project site also hosts the logistics hub for the technical industry underpinning the oil, gas and mining sectors. In other words, this is where the drillers, fitters, pipe layers and the likes in PNG operate from.
“The Tuhava Satellite Town being developed through the Napanapa pilot project will continue to play an important role in the local and national economy. Most importantly, jobs will be created for the local and national economy. This is therefore a nation-building and trend-setting pilot project.
Rosso said this would be a model for developing towns and cities.
“As MP for Lae, the second largest city in the country with problems of city expansion, customary land mobilisation, affordable housing crisis, settlement issues and the need for job creation, this project interested me the most when I was first introduced to it upon being appointed as minister.
“I could see this project providing a model with the potential for duplication across the country and in my city of Lae. Hence, my commitment to the Napanapa pilot project to getting this far. The final step in my role as minister is to grant sub-divisional approval for the development to progress.
“This is the fifth year for the Napanapa pilot project. Good teamwork, goodwill and partnership were the key factors that made this project remain focussed and ensured progress. I want to therefore acknowledge the teams that were involved in this project to make it a success.
“The partner developers from the Napanapa pilot project for demonstrating restraint and working closely with the customary landowning communities. Even though the department got involved in this pilot project only in 2017, they have been dealing with the customary landowners for over 10 years. The kind of investments they have made based on land without secure land titles during this period is a testament to the ongoing quality relationship they have with the customary landowners. This is the kind of corporate governance and leadership I as minister would want to see promoted across the country.
“The Kuriu landowners, I want to make a special mention of the Kurius of Roku who have been granted the two State leases by our Prime Minister. This group has demonstrated good quality leadership in managing landowner and partner developer expectations through these many years. This is testament to the kind of leadership the community has provided, led by Inogo Gabe. I am fully aware of the capacity challenge the landowners will face in going forward because developing these 585 hectares of land into the Tuhava satellite town is a complex and difficult undertaking. This is an important area the Department of Lands and Physical Planning and the National Land Development programme Phase 2 will be looking to develop structures that enhance, build, and maintain good corporate governance for customary landowner companies involved in land development in partnership with the Investment Promotion Authority.
“In terms of partnership, I want to acknowledge the strong technical support from the Australia PNG Partnership Programme not only to this project but to the National Land Development Programme Phase 2 and the Department of Lands and Physical Planning.
“The partner developers involved in this project are all Australian businesses. They have done a great job in collaborating with the customary landowners and the State. This is a model I would want the two governments to promote across the country.

Ohobiduduare Holdings Ltd chairman Inogo Gabe (seated left) with Land and Physical Planning Department Secretary Benjamin Samson listening to Prime Minister James Marape during the launch last week.

“The Napanapa pilot project will provide a template for the country to facilitate access to customary land for development with the State, customary landowners and the partner developers working together in a structured public-private-partnership framework. More importantly, this will enable dealings on secure bankable State leases.
“I therefore invited specifically the financial sector representatives that without the bankability of the leases being granted, there will not be any development. On that note, I fully endorse the invitation for the financial sector to partner with the State with the view to work closely and make these State leases bankable.
“While customary land remains sensitive in this country, we must find an effective way to empower customary landowners to drive development on their own land. Reforming customary land tenure using the approach taken by the Napanapa pilot project is indeed a major pathway to implementing the ‘Take Back PNG’ policy of our government under the leadership of the Prime Minister.
“Tuhava satellite town is a pilot project that has taken five years to come this far. While every effort has been taken to cover for all aspects, it is still possible that there may be areas or issues overlooked. Collectively, as the project progresses towards development, the State through the Department of Lands and Physical Planning and the National Land Development Programme Phase 2, will investigate the laws dealing with customary land tenure and the overall administration of all land in the country with the view to ensure there is a win-win outcome for all parties involved, the customary landowners, State, partner developers and financial institutions.
“On this note, I want to emphasise the need to have good governance structures underpinning partnerships and teamwork that benefit all parties involved,” Rosso said.