PM Puts Forward Amended Oil And Gas Bill On Development Levies
Prime Minister James Marape has presented the amendment bill of the Oil and Gas Bill 2019 to amend the Oil and Gas Act 1998 relating to development levies.
In presenting the Bill, Mr Marape said the Oil and Gas Act 1998 section 160 subsection 6 provides the payment of development levies into trust accounts for those provincial and local level governments that are entitled to such levies.
“As the levies are at present, the provincial and local level governments that are entitled to such levies cannot access funds because of section 160 subsection 6 of the act which only allows expenditure out of the trust account if parliament approves an appropriation act in the national budget.
“The purpose of this amendment bill is to allow for provincial governments and LLG that are entitled to the development levies to access this funds that are held in trust accounts in accordance with the provincial appropriation law that is for the concern of all provinces.”
Southern Highlands Governor William Powi in response to the presentation of the Amendment Bill said that it was an important amendment for the Oil and Gas Act especially on development Levies.
“Bringing this amendment to Parliament is important and reads in practice section 160 subsection 6, that development levies should be paid to provincial governments who are recipients to development levies in accordance with the appropriation bill from Parliament.
“In practice those of us receiving development levies are not appropriated through parliament, (but) sits outside the Public Finance Management Act through a trust account in Waigani. “However, contrary to current practice, the law is not consistent, (and) this amendment is to correct the inconsistent law,” Mr Powi said.
“The trust account it will be paid into in accordance with the current amendment we are bringing into parliament, inconsistency is now being corrected. “And I commend the Government in the correction to the law in the Oil and Gas Act (1998),” Powi said.