A TOTAL of thirty-six church groups in the Usino-Bundi district of Madang province received a total of K111, 756. 56 royalty payout from Ramu NiCo Project this week.
Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) representative, Nicholas Waipuk based in Madang presented the cheque to the pastors and expressed MRA’s gratitude that the money will finally benefit the genuine landowners through their church organisations.
“MRA’s real concern is to ensure that the royalty from all the projects in PNG benefit the genuine landowners and not the paper landowners,”
“It is the landowner executives wisdom to capture the church component of the royalty under the project MOA and we are now seeing the benefit to the churches. I thank Ramu NiCo, Maigari landowners association, and churches for working together to see this success,” Mr. Waipuk said.
The money was from the 1% component of the 2018 royalty payout, according to Ramu NiCo Management.
Ramu NiCo Community Affairs General Manager, Martin Paining told the church pastors who were present to receive their royalty component that Ramu nickel/cobalt project is one of the challenging, yet interesting projects in the country because the Projects’ benefits are shared throughout Madang province and the country.
“I have worked with many mining companies but I must say that Ramu NiCo is one of the few or only mining company that ensures its benefits reaches the entire province and country,”
“All 19 LLGs in Madang receive royalty, unlike other projects where only impacted LLGs and recognised landowners receive royalty,”
“Under the Ramu NiCo Project MoU, youths, women group, and landowners receive their royalties including the churches where you and here today,” Mr. Paining said.
Mr. Paining said he is happy to see that the landowners and leaders during the initial stage of the Project captured the beneficiaries under the MoU and today the genuine landowners and other stakeholders are benefiting immensely.
He challenged the pastors, to be honest when using the royalty component because it is now a challenge where their respective congregation will watch how these monies are used.
Mr. Paining said more royalties will be paid in the future during the life-span of the project and this will improve the financial capabilities of the churches to extend the gospel and work of their respective churches to be agents of positive change.
Maigari Landowners Association Chairman, Jacob Winis thanked Ramu NiCo Management, MRA, Churches and his executives to ensure that the benefits are filtered down to the genuine landowners including the churches.
“The previous executives decided to purchase building materials and other support services for the churches but under my executive, we decided to open a bank account for all churches so that they receive their royalty component and decide how they can utilise their money,”
“I wish to see all stakeholders work together so that we continue to deliver the benefits to the landowners so they continue to benefit. LOA received 30% as administration cost but in the future, churches will receive 100% of the royalty,” Mr. Winis said.
Pastor Ken Borle from Iguruwe SDA Church thanked Ramu NiCo, MRA, and Maigari LOA for their hard work and wisdom to see the royalty benefit delivered to the churches.
Ps. Ken said all churches in the country and right-hand development partners of the government and the decision by the Project landowner association to share the royalty benefit will empower the churches to improve on their work to have a positive impact in their respective communities.
“The royalty assistance is well received and we will continue to work together with all stakeholders and promote honesty and transparency when we deliver our services to the communities we represent,” Ps Ken said.
Mineral Resources Authority also challenged other landowner associations in the Ramu NiCo project to follow the footstep of the Maigari landowners association and deliver churches royalty components to the respective churches for transparency purposes.
The awareness on the opening of the church’s bank account and financial literacy commenced in January and successfully completed on May 29 this year when the churches received their royalty payments into their respective bank accounts.
The official handover and takeover of the church’s bank account was witnessed by Mairagi Landowners Association executives led by chairman Jacob Winis, Ramu NiCo Community Affairs team led by General Manager Martin Paining and the church representatives from the Inland Pipeline impacted areas of the Ramu NiCo Project.