Head of the PNGEITI National Secretariat, Lucas Alkan, tells Loop PNG that a technical working group is currently working on a draft bill for the establishment of an Act of Parliament for the PNGEITI.
He says the establishment of the Act will give the entity the authority to obtain revenue data reviews, assess, and report on what is being paid by resource extraction companies and what has been received by the Government.
“It (PNGEITI) will have the power to ask the company’s to give the revenue figures of production, because if they don’t we have to apply penalty. And because they break the law, they have to produce it and give us the report within a certain time period. Right now we don’t have that. We are just depending on them to voluntarily submit the data information that we need,” said Alkan.
One of the issues the PNGEITI will be looking into is the monitoring of the payment of funds paid directly by the companies to landowner.
Alkan said companies were paying directly to the landowners in order to avoid landowner issues.
“For example, in the Mining Act it states that the government need to pay those landowners. Companies pay to the government, and then government will have to pay to MRA. But practically now what they have been doing is because the government is delaying processes and then landowners start creating problems, the companies have been paying them directly.
“And then they (company) just process the receipt to MRA saying this is the amount of royalty paid to landowners, so these things we need to be taking back so MRA as a Government entity need to facilitate in paying this money to the landowners.”
“So these are issues EITI will also try to address,” said Alkan.
The PNGEITI currently sits under the Treasury Department, with Alkan reporting to the Treasury Minister.
While the Government has committed its support to the entity, Alkan and EITI stakeholders believe that to be effective, the body has to be independent from the Government.
The draft bill is expected to be completed by the year’s end and the bill put forward to Cabinet in 2018.