Post Courier | March 05, 2017
DEPUTY Governor of New Ireland Province Ambrose Silul has called for greater and more equitable distribution of wealth derived from resource projects in the country.
Mr Silul was responding to recent reports released by Australian miner-Newcrest Limited on royalty payments paid to the New Ireland government, Nimamar Local Level Government and the special lease landowners to the tune of K69.8 million in 2016.
Mr Silul said while this may seem like a lot of money, it is nothing compared to what the national government and the company are receiving.
“Newcrest has actually only operated the mine for six years, since late 2010.
“However, in the first five years, according to Newcrest’s own annual reports, the difference between the cost of production and the sale price of gold means they have made nearly K5 billion in profit.
“So during the time that the people of New Ireland were receiving only K37.6 million per year in royalties, Newcrest was making nearly a billion kina per year.
“That is over twenty-five times as much as the people of New Ireland,” he said.
Mr Silul who is also president of the Nimamar Local level Government said that at the same time “the National Government has been making over K300 million per year in various taxes, mining levies and other fees.
“This means National Government is making nearly ten times as much as the people from whom the wealth actually comes.”
He said it was high-time this trend changed.
“We need to increase royalties to be consistent with international practice.
“Royalties should be set at 10 percent of annual revenues.
“Special support grant should be increased from the current level of one-quarter of one percent to 10 percent.
The same with the tax credit scheme increase it from three-quarters of one percent of assessable income to 10 percent of assessable income.
“We are not doing this for the people of New Ireland alone.
“Once we get these increases we will share 20 percent of our total benefits with the non-mining provinces in the country.
“We think every mining province should take this approach.
“It will benefit all Papua New Guineans,” he said.