SABL issue must be addressed: NRI article

Lands Minister must address SABL issue properly.

That is the title of the latest blog article released by the PNG National Research Institute (PNG NRI).

The article highlights concern around issues raised by customary landowners over the lack of action on recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on SABL.

PNG NRI Professorial Research Fellow and former director Dr Thomas Webster stated in the article that the Minister for Lands and Physical Planning Benny Allan is deliberately, or otherwise, misleading in his statements on the status of implementing the COI recommendations and decision of the NEC to cancel SABL leases.

“The Commission of Inquiry (COI) was established prior to the last national election and the current Minister for Lands and Physical Planning has been responsible for the Lands Portfolio for the entire life of this Parliament to have the anomalies of the SABL corrected once and for all,” Dr Webster said.

The article also highlights problems with SABLs, recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry Report, NEC decisions directing SABL leases to be squashed, the Land Groups Incorporation Amendment Act 1974, the amended 2009 Land Registration Amendment Act of 1982 and the Voluntary Customary Land Registration System. The proposed Office of the Customary Land Development, the Need for Access to Land for Development and the Long Held Challenges for Accessing Customary Land for Development are also discussed.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had continuously maintained that NEC decision on cancellation of all SABL leases is still effective.

Minister for Lands and Physical Planning in 2016 announced the blanket decision to cancel all the SABL in the country.

Allen said most of the landowners have raise concern about the SABL issues and the government is on the right track by hearing their plight.

He added that most developers of SABL have not complied with processes and procedures in the agreement which leads to this decision made by the government.


Charles Yapumi