Radio New Zealand, 1 April 2016
A landmark report about Papua New Guinea’s extractive industries has highlighted a pressing need for transparency by state authorities.
The Extractive Industries Transparency report, which was launched at parliament on Wednesday, contains an extensive list of recommendations on how to improve natural resource management in PNG.
Following the launch, the PNG Resource Governance Coalition has urged the government and relevant stakeholders to fully implement the recommendations.
The Coalition’s National Coordinator, Martyn Namorong, said the findings of the report were quite damning and highlighted the need for swift action.
Even though the vast majority of PNG’s population have seen little benefit from these sectors, the country’s impressive economic growth in the past decade was based mainly around mining, oil and gas projects.
However the resources boom in PNG is considered to have tailed off, with the economy now struggling due to the slump in global commodity prices.
The government is pinning its economic hopes on expansion of the liquefied natural gas sector.
But Mr Namorong said that PNG risks losing its petroleum licence registry because the records were kept in torn, hand-written, ledger books as highlighted in the report.
He said it remained unknown how much of PNG’s minerals and hydrocarbons had left its shores because relevant government entities were dependent on company-provided figures which weren’t independently verifiable.
The report recommended that the Mineral Resource Authority and Department of Petroleum and Energy conduct independent audits of production data.
Mr Namorong said that if Papua New Guineans were to maximize the benefits of resource extraction, they needed access to reliable information including access to various contractual agreements.
He called on the government and industry to disclose to the public, various agreements that determined benefit flows from natural resource extraction and related land use.