By HELEN TARAWA
LACK of funding is a major constraint on the work of the Land Titles Commission, acting chief commissioner National Lands Commission Kutt Paonga says.
Paonga told The National that with a budget of K100,000 for the circuits, it had been difficult for the Land Titles Commission to hear all the cases.
“We don’t have regional offices. The only office is in Port Moresby and we are required to travel around the country,” Paonga said.
“For this year, our budget for travel to the circuits is K100,000, which is enough to do two circuits only.
“That won’t help us attend to other matters. With funding problems, we are asking the provincial governments to assist.
“There are cases outstanding from Madang, Lae and Alotau which we have to hear but funding is a problem. We list all the cases from the provinces to be heard during the time we travel.”
He said the New Ireland provincial government funded their visit to Kavieng for K140,000 which enabled them to cover about 70 per cent of the cases.
“If we cover other provinces we are looking at something similar or slightly less. In a year we cover at least 40 cases in one province.
“With sufficient funding we can cover three or four provinces of about 160 cases within a year,” he said.
The cases are usually about disputes between the landowners and the State, or landowners applying to convert their customary land.
They also have cases involving big mining and resource projects. Applications are made through the National Land Title Commissions. Usually one commissioner hears a couple of cases.
“If there are appeals then all three commissioners can sit on the case. The cases are depended on funding from the Government.”
By HELEN TARAWA