By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The Ministerial Determination for PDL1 and 7 for the PNG LNG production has been gazetted after 28 days pending no judicial review. This means the voting of block leaders of PDL 1 and 7 will commence in due course.
Petroleum Minister, Fabian Pok said it has taken ten long years to reach this step and urged the people of Hela to respect the processes involved, so their long-awaited equity payments will be released once accounts are opened.
The steps towards the release of millions of kina which has accumulated since the PNG LNG production commenced in 2014 are simple. After the completion of the Landowner Beneficiaries Identification Process or LOBID exercise, a ministerial determination is singed, the voting of block leaders occurs, the accounts are opened and the payments are released.
In this case, the PNG Electoral Commission will conduct the election of block leaders, bank officers will open accounts for the resource owners and Mineral Resource Development Company or MRDC makes the payout.
The PNG LNG project is a multi billion kina project that generates income for the PNG economy. But the people from Hela province, the resource owners have not seen much of the benefits in terms of infrastructure development, improved living standards or economic growth within the province.
Much of the delay has been because of court disputes over who the legitimate landowners are and the continuous tribal fights in Hela. However, in the last three months, basic government services are being restored in the provincial capital and this looks promising for the people in Hela.