Deputy PM assures landowners of royalty payment

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Charles Abel, has told Parliament that the delay in the landowners’ royalty payment was entirely on the landowners and not the Government.

He said the landowners have to get their facts right and deal with land boundaries and clan vetting exercise before the Government can release the royalty payment.

Abel added that the Government is still committed in releasing the funding that was rightfully belong to the people and will not hold back if everything is in order.

The Deputy Prime Minister was responding to questions from the Opposition leader, Patrick Pruaitch on Wednesday.

“When will the Government fulfill its commitment in releasing the royalty payment to the landowners?

“Can the Deputy Prime Minister assure the parliament that the Government is capable in managing the Hides plant if ExxonMobil pulls out of the project?

Pruaitch further asked when and how soon the landowners will get their payment.

In response, Abel said it is not easy to deal with landowners especially with their royalty payments.

Abel said the Government is prepared to release the payment once everything is settled.

Meantime, former Prime Minister and Moresby Northwest MP, Sir Mekere Morauta raised a supplementary question asking about the 4.27% equity that was agreed in the MoU signed in Kokopo.

Freddy Mou