Parliament amends Oil, Gas and Mining Acts
Papua New Guinea Parliament on Wednesday passed two important amendment laws to give the State more control over the country's resource sector.
The first Bill for an Act was presented by Petroleum and Energy Minister Kerenga Kua to amend the Oil and Gas Act of 1998 while the second was presented by Mining Minister Johnson Tuke to amend certain sections of the Mining Act of 1992.
Minister Kua when presenting the Oil and Gas Amendment Bill of 2020 said that the amendment is aimed at altering key sections of the Oil and Gas Act to secure the best deal possible for the country.
He also added that these changes will assist Papua New Guinea to take back that position while a wholesale change will be made later by this Government if it still remains in office.
Meanwhile, Mining Minister Johnson Tuke when presenting the Mining Amendment Bill of 2020 said that the amendment will see the Mineral Resource Authority (MRA) taking more control over the sector.
He said this will see MRA requiring all tenement holders to submit all data from exploration up to the mining stage and also provide a monitoring hub within the MRA to receive, record and monitor live data on mineral production, extraction and sale throughout the country.
Minister Tuke also said that the amendment will also give certain powers to the State in terms of the application, revocation and expiry of the lease in mine areas as well as the call for all arbitration in relation to the mining project to be subjected to PNG Laws which must be held in PNG.
Those who spoke when debating the amendments supported the amendments except for former Mining Minister and Central Bougainville MP Sam Akoitai who was against the proposed mining amendments.
Prime Minister James Marape when speaking in support of the Oil and Gas and Mining Amendments in Parliament on Wednesday said the slogan of Take Back PNG is not just talk but concrete steps are being taken to improve the country's economy.
Mr Marape said the amendments will undo historical legacies which have made PNG become a generous profit centre for powerful foreign interests in the country's natural resources.
He said the country's resource laws have been crafted and applied to entice foreign capital and know how and this has subordinated the country's national interest to the commercial interest at a great cost to the people of PNG.
Prime Minister Marape said though the attraction of foreign investors and capital is important, this cannot go unchecked forever and PNG like other countries in the world needs to change its laws to reflect and promote these changes.
He also added that no country can control its own destiny if it only has political control and not it's economic advancement because they both are the two sides of the same coin.