Passage Of Papua LNG Project Bills Signal Of Govt Honouring Deal: Marape
Prime Minister James Marape said the government has every right to scrutinise the Papua LNG Agreement on behalf of the people.
He said this yesterday during debate on 10 Papua LNG Project Amendment Bills, a requirement of the agreement, which were passed by Parliament. The agreement was signed in April by the previous Peter O’Neill government.
The 10 Bills are the:
Income Tax (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
Income tax, Dividend (WithHolding) Tax and Interest (Withholding) Tax Rates (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
Stamp Duties (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
Goods and Services Tax (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
Excise Tariff (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
Customs Tariff (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
Resources Contract Fiscal Stabilisation (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
Insurance (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
Prices Regulation (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019; and
Konebada Petroleum Park Authority (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019.
Mr Marape commended Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua for a “momentous and massive occasion” for Parliament. “He (Kua) came into this job with a lot of expectations,” he said.
“He was purposely placed in there to dissect exactly what was signed as Papua LNG, to ensure that the nation is given that comfort that we need, that what was signed is consistent with the overriding ambits of our National Constitution and all the other subsidiary laws that govern our country.
“Let me say that himself (Kua), and ourselves as government, have every right on behalf of our citizens to put to scrutiny what was signed. “Laws like this that are brought in for passage are not something that we must take lightly. “As part of our government plan, we embarked on an ambitious plan, to relook at whether there were some winners and lack of compliance to existing provisions of law that we can address.”
Mr Marape said although this may have taken some time, “the industry need not be fearful”. “Today is testament that any government of the day can honour agreements, so long as those agreements are constructed in law, and working in consistency and in congruence to law. “Minister Kua and his team were able to go through what was signed by the previous government, and we also tried to push a little bit extra, in the context of what was signed,” he said.
“We’ve secured one of two additional gains from what was originally agreed upon. “For instance, landowners from Gulf provincial government and government of our country can participate in the shipping business. “We can look at a better definition of the pipeline…as well as define better what is local content.”
Mr Marape said going forward, and learning from the past, no more concessions would be made in future projects. “I place on record my desire, individually and as head of this government, to quantify what is that 51 per cent in actual number terms, against what losses we are making in the concessions we are giving,” he said.
“(This is) so that future projects are built on solid data. “We may never win on all fronts, but we must win in some areas. “This afternoon’s passage of this bill is a signal of our commitment to honouring the gas agreement that the O’Neill-led government signed earlier this year.