By Patrick Talu
Audited payments made by Porgera Gold Mine to the Government and various stakeholders can be tracked, but not after they had reached the Government.
There remains a critical lack of transparency at both the National and sub-national government levels where the impacted communities who are supposed to be the ultimate beneficiaries of PNG’s mining and mineral wealth are let out.
Peter Johnson, former Economics Studies Program Team Leader and Senior Research Fellow with National Research Institute said: “Observing the details of how much of the revenues from the mining project that are spent are difficult if not impossible to access.”
He was speaking at the launch of a case study yesterday at NRI titled, Lode Shedding: A case study of the Economics Benefits to the Landowners, the Provincial Government, and the State from the Porgera Gold.
Mr Johnson said it was easy to track funds coming from the mine and going into the National and the provincial Government but how and where it ended up from the provincial government to the local level government and the development authorities in this case, the Enga Provincial Government (EPG), Porgera Development Authority) PDA) and Porgera Local Level Government (LLG) respectively were untraceable.
The report has indicated that to date over a billion kina in cash and benefits have gone out of Porgera mine yet not being translated to real developments.
He said the amount of funds held in trust accounts was more difficult to estimate as well as investment made by Kupiane Investments. This, he said, was even more difficult to trace except for an initial endowment of K9 million in 1997 while the study could not find information on the current state of the benefits or how those payment were distributed.
The reports indicated that from the start of the mine in 1990 till 2009, the National Government received over K3.4 billion in income tax, company tax, customs, fuel levy, business contracts, education and other measures.