Government cancels SABL leases

The government has taken a blanket decision to cancel all the Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABL) arrangements across the country.

 Minister for Lands and Physical Planning Benny 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.

He said while the committee has been set up to look into the matter, the Department of Lands have taken a different  approach in dealing with the matter.

Allen said they will be handing a submission to the government to deliberate on regarding their workable approach.

He said in this approach, there will be no SABL leases but Incorporated Land Groups (ILGs) will be tasked to convert SABLs to customary land registration.

“ILGs will go through the voluntary customary land registration and then make recommendations to the Lands Department where they will be issued land titles.”

He said the ILGs will have the titles but subleased their lands to the developer.

Allen reiterated that this approach has worked in Vanimo in West Sepik and Kimbe in West New Britain provinces.

He said as soon as the NEC endorsed their submission, they will apply it to all the SABLs.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill maintained that his instructions for the cancellation of all SABL stands and that all leases will be returned to the people.

He said only then can companies and landowners renegotiate the rental of the land in a more commercial way.


Freddy Mou