Revised act will ensure people benefit from oil palm: Simon


THE Oil Palm Industry Corporation (Opic) Act of 1992 review will go to Parliament next month, says Agriculture and Livestock Minister John Simon.
Simon said this during the opening of the Saraklok Bridge outside Kimbe, West New Britain, on Saturday.
He said the new Act would ensure the country and its people benefited more from the oil palm sector.
Opic acting general-secretary Kepson Pupita said the draft had been circulated to stakeholders and would be presented to the State Solicitors’ Office this week, before it was pushed to the National Executive Council (NEC) and then Parliament.
Simon said Prime Minister James Marape wanted to see changes in the country’s biggest agriculture export earner palm oil that generated on average K1.2 billion annually.
“Oil palm has been here for many years, the current Act only talks about Opic doing only extension services,” he said.
“It is hard.
“The Government does not tax oil palm.
“Companies are getting rich. Tax is only through the company tax and goods and services tax, there is no levy.”
He thanked Talasea MP Francis Maneke for pushing for the review.
Pupita said oil palm production needed to increase.
“PNG only has 200,000 hectares of oil palm, Malaysia has 5.4 million hectares and Indonesia has 16 million hectares, the new legislation will address that,” he said.
“The Opra (Oil Palm Research Association) must come in as a Government function.
“In 2019, government gave K1 million, same as 2020, research and development must come in, regulatory services must come in, for us smallholders, we are not following standards, in production, we are not putting fertilisers, these are some of the challenges we will address in the new legislation.
“We must register and license the mills and business.
“We must collect levies in crude palm oil, in kernel oil and derivatives, that’s what we are doing.”