Four landowner associations of the Ramu Nikel project in Madang are demanding the National Government to immediately release their outstanding business development grant of K10m or Ramu Nickel project will be disrupted.
In a meeting on Wednesday this week, the four landowners association chairmen questioned why the National Government pays close attention to other similar projects in the country by paying their development grant and ignores its commitment towards Ramu Nickel project landowners.
“If the National Government thinks that Ramu Project is not important to the national economy and the country’s bilateral relationship with China then sooner or later, we will disrupt the project.
“We have waited since 2006 when former Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare made the commitment of K20million. K10m was released in 2011 under Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and we are now demanding the release of the balance K10million,” chairman and spokesman Tobby Bare said.
In a letter dated August 10 to Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, the four chairmen asked the Prime Minister to direct the release of the remaining K10m which was intended as seed capital to support the four landowner companies KBK Ltd, Maigari Ltd, Wass Matau Ltd and Basamuk Enterprises.
“The landowner companies urgently need the funding to increase capacity to compete with companies outside and within the project area for contracts,”
“This is because not many commercially viable contracts were off loaded to the landowner companies during the construction and initial operational phase of the Ramu Nickel project.”
“We are simply asking the Prime Minister to direct the release of the long overdue K10m because we have waited since 2006. We cannot compete with other businesses at this stage,” Bare said.
He said that the money should be paid to Mineral Resources Authority to administer the disbursement of the money to the four landowner companies and not any alien agents claiming to represent them.