Unity Needed for LNG Landowners to Buy Shares in LNG Project

By Serahphina Aupong – EMTV News, Port Moresby

LNG landowners are striving for unity in order to successfully buy out the 4.22% shares in the LNG Project.

In a first ever meeting of landowner representatives since the 2009 Umbrella Benefits Sharing Agreement (UBSA), they were told that acquiring these shares is their last chance to meaningfully benefit from the LNG project.

Through a show of hands, they indicated that at least all landowning groups were represented in this meeting today at the Holiday Inn in Port Moresby.

The meeting is in response to the advertorial in last Thursday’s papers.

According to the UBSA of 2009, the landowners have until 30th June this year to come up with K3.4 billion to buy out the shares.

From this meeting, one thing is clear, they all do not have the money and they agree, 6 months is not a lot of time to raise  over K3 billion.

John Kekeno, former member of parliament and PDL 1 landowner sponsored this meeting and is providing one option for the landowners, securing a loan outside of the country.

“Let us go and look for money, some of us have financiers in mind, some of you may have other options, bring these options and lets discuss them so that we can form an umbrella company who can fight for our equity,” Mr Kekeno told the roomful of landowners.

Securing a loan outside of the country to finance this share purchase is not a new concept. Other landowners say they have dealt with this idea before.

“I got some financiers from US, National News Capital I brought them to on technical, legal and financial advice funding of the equity,” Simon Ekanda of Tuguba Tribe Chairman said.

At the end of this meeting it was agreed that those who wish to pursue this discussion with the financier, which John Kekeno and his team are in touch with, another meeting will be organised for them to meet with the financier next week who will then go into more details on the terms and conditions of the loan.

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