PNG To Reveal Contracts and Agreements by 2021
The year 2021 will witness Papua New Guinea revealing all agreements related to oil and gas, and mining. This, according to the Head of PNGEITI National Secretariat Mr. Lucas Alkan, who added that all contracts and MOUs signed between two parties next year are required to be disclosed to the public.
“The current practice in Papua New Guinea is that once the agreements are signed, they are filed by the State Solicitor’s office and not disclosed as public information,” he said. “A number of project agreements including that of the multi-billion Kina PNG LNG Project are protected by secrecy provisions and have not been disclosed for EITI reporting purposes. These agreements need to be disclosed, not only because PNG is implementing the EITI Global best practice standard but it is also in the best interest of the resource owners and the people of this country to know what is contained in these agreements.”
Mr. Alkan added that development licenses, petroleum contracts, and associated agreements are essential factors in the legal framework of the governance of the country’s natural resources and wealth.
“Disclosure of project agreements, MoAs and contracts, allows the public to monitor the conduct of the parties involved in the extraction and sale of mineral and petroleum commodities to determine who is accountable for non-compliance, whether it be benefits sharing, environmental impacts, social obligations and so forth,” he said. “The government has been talking about getting its fair share from resource projects, however, if the deals have been done badly in the first place by giving away too many fiscal concessions like a 10-year tax holiday or other tax exemptions then we have locked ourselves into a position where we cannot do much.”
He added, “If there are any legislative impediments to the disclosure of contracts and agreements, the laws must be reviewed as part of current legislative reforms in the extractive sector to amend these legislations that have prevented public disclosure of these important documents.”
He said that disclosing the contents of these contracts has benefits. Aside from better understanding of the project agreements, disclosing the contracts entail a better understanding of how revenue flows, enabling the public and the government to check tax incentives and subsidies available, and a better perspective and view of the responsibilities that developers are required to meet.
Among the new projects in the pipeline include the following:
• Frieda River copper and gold project
• Woodlark Gold project
• Wafi-Golpu Gold project
• Papua LNG Project
• Pasca A Petroleum Project