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May 6, 2021
Business Highlands News

Umbrella Land Owner Association Call on Government to Honour Commitment

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By Eric Haurupma – EMTV News, Port Moresby

PNG LNG project umbrella landowner association, LASTTOFIRST Papua PNG LNG Equity Holdings Limited has called on the government to honour its commitment by lending 4.22 per cent equity to landowners.

This is part of the 2009 Kokopo Umbrella Benefit Sharing Agreement, under which the state agreed to offer the interest as commercial equity before June 30.

The group are calling for the government to give them the 2.44 per cent equity to allow for landowners to be paid 1 per cent each per shareholder.

The equity option is an undivided and fixed 25.75 per cent shareholding, as granted by the state to affected landowners and provinces.

Chairman of LASTTOFIRST, John Kekeno, said the option exercise notice indicated that 4.22 per cent equity in the PNG LNG project follows the Umbrella Benefit Sharing Agreement, entered into by the government and landowners via the 2009 Kokopo Accord.

Under Schedule One and Two of the notice, LASTTOFIRST Papua PNG LNG Equity Holdings Limited is the nominee of the affected landowners and provinces to secure the commercial equity currently held by the state through Kroton Number 2 and its associates.

Its preferred option is to finance the undivided and fixed 25.75 per cent shareholding in Kroton through Kumul Holdings Limited, which and claim to have secured $US1.5 billion.

Their concern is given the lapsed timeframe for its (2.44 per cent equity) release and also the government announcement for the deferral of equity to September as per a National Executive Council decision, they are now calling on the government to honour the UBSL agreement and release the equity with an amount of $US240 million (K720 million), of which the government has agreed to.

In light of this, they have served an Exercise Notice to the Prime Minister and Ministers to reconsider the arrangement and release the 4.22 per cent equity, of which clause 6.1 of the UBSA agreement provides for.

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