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Port Moresby
March 9, 2021
Business News

ACT NOW Disappointed With Government

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Community Advocacy group ACT NOW has welcomed Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s statement of revoking SABL leases however it is disappointed in the delays in implementing the process.

ACT NOW says there can be no excuses for the government to sit on the commission's recommendations, which was presented 6 months ago.

 

The advocacy organization is upset with the government for not acting to restore land to its rightful owners.

 

The Special Agriculture Business Leases were introduced by Sam Abal when he was the acting Prime Minister under the Somare led Government in June 2011.

 

An estimated 5.2 million hectares of customary land in 75 locations around PNG were leased for agricultural purposes for a time period of 99 years.

 

However, after 2 years of operation, corruption filtered SABL’s core functions resulting in a Commission of Inquiry into the leases. Upon findings, the inquiry called on the current O’Neill-Dion government to revoke all leases.

 

Last week, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said, the Cabinet has appointed a Ministerial team to implement recommendations stated in the inquiry.

 

The Ministerial team will be headed by Forest Minister Patrick Pruaitch, Land’s Benny Allan and Agriculture’s Tommy Tomscoll.

 

However those move will be delayed by a separate investigation into the inquiry team as one of the members fail to submit his report.

 

ACT NOW is frustrated with this deferral as it delays actions of revoking a single lease.

 

Meanwhile the landowner’s frustrations are building up as millions of kina in timbers are stolen from their land and shipped overseas by logging companies, aided by politicians and corrupt public servants.

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