Pilot project to commercialize customary land

The PNG Government will pilot the commercialization of customary owned land by creating State leases and granting titles to fully or partially landowner owned companies.

Lands Minister John Rosso announced this during a presentation to the Port Moresby Chamber of commerce and Industry.

Rosso said the pilot will be conducted using the existing provisions in the Land Act 1996.

He said the pilot project is in recognition of the fact that State land is all but exhausted in all urban centers and the demand for land by both the State and the private sector are on the increase and encroaching on customary land

The pilot will be tested in Port Moresby, specifically the Napa Napa area, and will generate the templates for application;

  • elsewhere in the country for scale development such as satellite townships throughout PNG;
  • in major resources sector, especially mining, who are looking for ways to secure land for resettlement – permanent compared to relocation which is temporary- in our major resource projects such as Lihir, Porgera, Wafi Golpu, and Frieder River; and
  • help resolve the long outstanding issues of dubious dealings on Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) Currently, there are no more SABL being issued which has been abused in the past.

The pilot project follows on from the adoption of 17 resolutions at the National Land Summit in May 2019 by the National Executive Council.

This then paved the way for the National Land Development program II (NLDP II) to oversee implementation of these resolutions.

The main aim of NLDP II is to develop a legal and administrative framework that makes customary land bankable, empowering customary landowners to commercialize their customary and create certainty for those that use the land.

The Government has allocated K10m per year to NLDP II in the 2020 National Budget for a 5-year period to implement the outcomes of the NLS 2019, starting in 2020.

Cedric Patjole