By EDDIE MOSES
PROJECT Area Land Owners (PALO) of the PNG LNG Project are demanding that the State and Developers increase their agreed Business Development Grant (BDG) of K120 million to K500 million.
In an impromptu meeting on Sunday last week at the Granville Motel, the landowners revealed that the K120 million BDG agreed at the Kokopo UBSA was completely inadequate.
The landowners, surprised at the State's relegation of the administration of the BDG from DPE to the Department of Commerce and Industry vented their frustration at each other in heated exchanges before coming to some resolutions for the State's consideration.
The general consensus was that the K120 million BDG was completely inadequate and that the State and Developers needed to review it.
Andagali Kurubugo, Chairman of Hides PDL1 Peoples Association Inc (Hides PDL1 PA Inc), told the meeting that he foresaw the problem and tried to counter it with a request for an increase of the BDG to K500 million in his peoples Position Paper at the Nogoli LBBSA .
"I knew we had so many ILGs and Landowner Companies in Hides alone and if we were to share the K20 million allocation from the K120 million allocated to us, all of us would be left with completely nothing. We relied on this seed capital and the mere pittance will be unable to allow us to be participants in the project on our lands," he said
Parila Wani Hayako, Public Relations Officer of Hides PDL1 PA Inc said the PALOs will have nothing to assist them with to participate in the project.
Alluding to recent media advertisements by the Department of Commerce and Industry setting out criteria for accessing the K120 million BDG, Mr. Hayako said most of the criteria were an insult to the landowners.
"We have been vocal about the State's failure to comply with the statutory provisions of the Oil & Gas Act on Social Mapping, Genealogy Studies and Clan vetting. Now Commerce and Industry is telling us that we need this information to qualify for the BDG. The State let us down and now the State is aggravating the situation by asking us to provide information that it never considered important in the lead up to the ratification of the project," he said.
Hayako said the K20 million break up for Hides was not enough.
"The last time I checked no capital equipment at Morgan Equipment is going for K2000. We can't buy a bulldozer, an excavator or a tipper truck. How can we participate in the LNG Project? This is a complete rip off," he said.