Commerce Minister, Richard Maru, has proposed a radical model for new economic zones throughoutthe country where clan groups ownthe zones and participate inthe business.
Maru met with Yalu landowners outside Lae on Tuesday, tellingthem not to selltheir land tothe government but to become major business partners in a new economic zone.
If negotiations are successful, this model will be used in ther parts ofthe country.
The Commerce Minister flew overthe Yalu plantation withthe Morobe Governor, Kelly Naru.
The one hundred and forty six hectors of land may become Morobe’s next economic zone if landowners agree.
Atthe meeting with landowners, Richard Maru, proposed a deal that givesthem control overthe economic zone.
Maru has proposed that landowners will become major partners inthe economic zone usingtheir land astheir share inthe development.
They will ownthe economic zone and possiblythe rights to fifty percent ofthe jobs andthe provisions of utilities like water and power.
“The land is already owned bythe people so I don’t think we should getthe land fromthem.Instead, we should convertthe value ofthe land to shares for them inthe company,” said Maru. “We should not allowthe people to be spectators ontheir own land…it’s importantthey become owners ofthe business,” he said.
There is no formal agreement as yet butthe arrangement hasthe strong backing ofthe Morobe Governor.
The arrangement is in vast contrast tothe 200 hectare Pacific MarineIndustrial Zone in Madang where landowners have lost control oftheir land afterthe titled was passed fromthe Catholic Church tothe Pilipino fishing company, RD Tuna.
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