By HILDEGARD F GANAK UPNG Journalism Student
LANDOWNERS from Honaga village of Komo Margarima in the Southern Highlands Province are now calling upon the Department of Petroleum and Energy to reveal the benefits contained in the LNG agreement signed last year.
The Awatangi, Koari and Neango LNG pipeline owners during a meeting on Tuesday said they do not know the benefits contained in the LNG agreement signed between the state and the project developers and demanded that the Department of Petroleum and Energy explain to them whether benefits in the agreement covered the landowners, Hela or Southern Highlands as a whole. They said DPE and Exxon Mobile must first answer their queries and clarify the benefits in order to enable the smooth running of the project.
The group's Chairman Moses Hella said the landowners and their people are confused as they were not informed of what was included in the agreement. "We want the Department of Petroleum and Energy and Exxon Mobile to meet with us the landowners and explain to us if our benefits were included in the agreement so that we can go back and tell our people", he said.
Mr. Hella claimed that they did not have any signatory in the Umbrella Benefit Sharing Agreement (UBSA) held in Kokopo as well as the License Based Benefit Sharing Agreement (LBBSA) at Angore, Southern Highlands Province. He said this was due to complications and delay of the events. The group alleged that there are also outstanding allowances owed to them by DPE during the signing of the UBSA and LBBSA and demanded that the money be paid to them.
They also request that seed capital contained in their MOA be paid to them and their people so they could start business and development in their area. The group further called upon DPE to provide free education for their children from elementary to Tertiary as they claimed DPE has promised to provide sponsorship for their school children.