PNG Govt owes K1 billion to Oil, Gas and Mine Landowners

 ROYALTIES totalling between K900 million and K1 billion are held by the Bank of PNG and the Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) to be paid to landowners once pending court cases are cleared, says  the country's Petroleum and Energy Minister Kerenga Kua.

Kua was replying to Western Governor Toboi Yoto who asked in Parliament whether the landowners of the PDL10 in Juha would receive their share of LNG royalties.

Yoto said clan vetting to identify landowners had been completed and the people had been waiting since 2009.

Kua said landowner identification was being challenged in court with some of the plaintiffs granted injunctions.

“This restrains the Government, the Department of Petroleum, National Planning and line government agencies to pay out the benefits and landowner entitlements.

“Sometimes, funding is a problem that hinders work but other times, landowners themselves contribute to the delay,” Kua said.

There are some good money available out of royalty benefits that is with the Central Bank and MRDC totalling between K900 million and K1 billion.

“These are funds that should be distributed according to established formula.

“Up to 40 per cent can go straight to landowners which is big money.”

Kua said one of the six cases was dismissed.

“Of the five left, two face injunctions preventing payments,” he said. “I encourage landowners to settle this amicably and so that the injunctions can be removed and the money can be disbursed.

“I believe whatever entitlement that the people of PDL10 in Juha have is also tied up in the blanket injunction.”

Kua said clan vetting was important and must be completed before a licence was granted.


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