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Changes to PNG Resources Laws to protect National Interest, says PM Marape

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has told Parliament that the amendments to the resource laws were part of the government’s slogan to “Take back PNG” to give more benefits to Papua New Guineans.
He said this when supporting amendments made to the Oil and Gas Act and the Mining Act that were passed by Parliament yesterday.
“The proposed amendments will undo historical legacies, which have made our country become a generous profit centre for powerful foreign interest in oil and gas,” Mr Marape said.
“Our country’s oil and gas laws have been crafted and applied to entice foreign capital and know-how. This has meant sub-ordination of our ‘national interest’ to ‘commercial interest’ at great cost to the people of PNG.
“Attracting foreign investors and capital is important, but this cannot remain unchecked forever. Like all countries, PNG grows and changes with time, as do the people of PNG. As a tool for development, the law must be adjusted to either reflect or promote those changes.”
He said taking back PNG was not just a call to take concrete steps for economic empowerment of the country.
“We must wake up to realities of business,” he said.
“Foreign investors are not here to support our national interest agenda unless it suits them or they are compelled by law or politics to do so. They are motivated by profit, not nation-building.”
Mr Marape said key provisions of the Oil and Gas Act that authorised and regulated the development of large projects must be changed if the country’s share of revenue from those projects is to be at the same level enjoyed by most producing countries.
He said this meant taking control of exploration activities through development.
“As leader of government, it is my responsibility, as it is my privilege, to ensure historical legacies that have outlived their usefulness are replaced with new concepts to enable us to take control of our economic agenda,” he said.
Mr Marape said this was the first step in any reform of the Oil and Gas Act that must begin with amendments to the laws to make them more enabling or responsive to national interest agenda but still enabling foreign investors to make reasonable return on investment.

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