by Delly Bagu – EM TV, Port Moresby
The people of Western Province will now benefit more through the provision of direct benefits made possible by a new Bill that was passed in parliament today.
The Ok Tedi Mine Extension 11th Supplemental Agreement Bill is said to improve administrative efficiency. The members of parliament voted 74-0 in favour of the Bill.
Unlike all other mines in PNG, Ok Tedi Mine is regulated under a commercial agreement, which is then approved by parliament.
The principal agreement was struck in 1976 and over time there have been successive amendments, close to 10 made to the agreement largely due to ownership and the operation of the mine itself.
The Ok Tedi Mine Extension 11th Supplemental Agreement makes two amendments to the principal agreement.
It will no longer be necessary for OTML to provide copies of all sales contracts for the Prime Minister for his approval prior to the sales.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said this is no longer necessary because there is an independent board now in place and many of the customers are long established buyers and standard sales contracts have been used on a regular interval.
Also the borrowing limit of the Ok Tedi Development Foundation is to be increased to K1million. This is in line with keeping with inflation and reflects the cost of projects being carried out by OTDF.
Prime Minister O’Neill said the government is working with landowners to conclude a direct shareholding agreement before December. All benefits including funds held by the State, MRA and other Agencies will be transferred directly to the people of Western Province.
Another bill passed this morning was the APEC PNG 2018 Coordination Authority Bill, in preparation of the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Corporation Meeting. The members of parliament voted 75-0 in favour of the Bill.
In 2018, PNG will host the APEC Summit. The APEC PNG 2018 Coordination Authority Bill will help PNG in the preparations towards hosting the meeting professionally and efficiently.
Mr. O’Neill said there will be many related meetings, close 200 of them between now and 2018.
The Authority’s function is to liaise and consult with relevant government departments and other stakeholders to have a successful outcome.