Potape wants update on gas agreements

National, Normal

KOMO-Margarima MP Francis Potape said the National Government must honour its commitments made at the umbrella and licence-based benefit sharing agreement forums.
In his series of questions in Parliament yesterday, he said some commitments made at the forums had yet to be fulfilled.
This included a review to determine the roles of the Mineral Resources Development Corporation (MRDC) and National Gas Corporation to manage landowner equity and entitlements.
“That review was due last September. Has that review been completed? If not, why not and when will it be completed?”
Mr Potape said during the LBBSA, it was agreed that the Minister for Petroleum would set up a committee to visit the various project areas and investigate and address all issues.
The minister had set last Dec 13 as the date for the committee to start work.
He said landowners had been frequenting Waigani’s Vulupindi daily waiting for their MoA funds to be paid.
“Together with these landowners are creditors, accommodation owners, hired car owners, consultants and other service providers.
“My landowners are living in Port Moresby on borrowed money, borrowed accommodation, borrowed vehicles and borrowed knowledge,” Mr Potape said.
“When will the Government release outstanding MoA funds and where will the payments take place? Here in Port Moresby or in the project areas?”
He also raised concerns over the business development grants, adding that landowners were handicapped and could not meaningfully participate, thus creating frustrations and misconceptions.
Petroleum Minister William Duma, in response, said the National Government approved K300 million in MoA funds for Southern Highlands last year, with a part payment of K60 million already paid out.
“The Gulf province will get K220 million and Central K150 million. Part payments have been made and the balance will be settled when funds are available.
“The review of MRDC and NGC could not be completed on time as a negative impact could affect the LBBSA signings.The issues committee has been established to carry out its tasks,” he said.