The National, Tuesday August 6th, 2013
By FIDELIS SUKINA
THE PNG Sustainable Development Programme (PNGSDP) will fund Western so that the people can have a better say in managing their funds, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.
He told employees of OTML in Tabubil, Western, of the country’s economic growth and how to improve the PNGSDP fund plus its true purpose. O’Neill said the decision by the Government and BHP 10 years ago to set up a fund for sustainability was to save US$300 million (K680 million) by the end of the mine life in 2013.
But now the fund has almost US$2 billion, which exceeded all expectations.
“This is to benefit Western and the people of PNG,” he said.
He said there had been a lot of good work done by the PNGSDP but there were still some issues to be resolved.
“Now with the end of mine life we are extending it to make sure there is no disruption,” he said.
“This decision is sensible, we must place the mine to its rightful owners through the Government. And as arranged when the mine is closed and transferred to the Government the sustainable fund will now be servicing the people of Western Province.”
O’Neill said the future benefit from OTML was being discussed with BHP and PNGSDP to make it a simple benefit scheme.
“We will change the way PNGSDP will be structured so that people of Western have a better say in managing their own funds,” he said.
“We will work with PNGSDP board to make changes. Be assured that workers of PNGSDP will not be dismissed. We are trying to create an environment where in future there will be extra employment.”