K45 Billion EHP Agri Project Stalled
The purported K45 billion agriculture project recently signed by the Eastern Highlands provincial government and witnessed by Prime Minister James Marape has a grim chance of kicking off on time.
This is because the instruments presented when officially lodging for the operation did not correlate and contained conflicting information.
It was told that when the company, McKinley Asia PNG Limited, a subsidiary of McKinley Investment Group LLC, USA applied for a business certificate, they had K5 billion listed but when the instruments were signed they penned down K45 billion.
The paper had also contacted the Korean Embassy in Port Moresby and was told they would not respond and that the South Korean government had distanced itself claiming the agreement was a private business arrangement.
It was also told the company has been categorised and listed under the KOTRA’s least business entities but could not provide more official statements.
It is understood the PNG government has written to the Korean government for more information on the company engaged in the latter and also for approval from the government for this project. But the Korean Embassy in Port Moresby said they would not comment but the Post-Courier has been told from Seoul South Korea that this was not a government project, therefore, they would not engage in any arrangements and comments.
On June 13, 2020, the national government through the leadership of Mr Marape put out a statement fully backing the Eastern Highlands provincial government for its incentives of partnering with the investor.
Mr Marape announced this during the MoA signing that his government was supportive of any investor engagement deal and will provide a state negotiation team to work with the provincial government and the investor to put into action the actual concrete development plan for the investment in the province.
“Many times I have talked about the provincial government taking ownership. Our Pangu-led government is a government that is pro-empowering provinces, districts and landowners where they are as far as business is concerned.”
Mr Marape had said at that time: “McKinley, right from the start you have our national government support that is why I am sitting here supporting the governor in this one.
“So national government we give blessings to this sort of partnerships.
“We give blessings to partnerships that respect our landowners, our governments on the ground led by the provincial government and for as long as you can bring your investment dollar into taking up resident in our country, we will give full protection of law and incentives that we can give you.”