Anti-corruption watchdog wants Papua New Guinea govt to be open about gold plans

1:00 pm on 24 April 2024
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Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) says the government has to let the public know about its plans for a gold refinery and mint.

The government is planning a National Gold Coporation measure that would set up a refinery and a national gold mint.

The scheme, in the pipeline for several years, is understood to offer a small Singaporean company with Australia providing many of its senior executives, sweeping controls over the gold produced in the country.

Few details have been released but it is understood the government would own a substantial slice of the company.

It has been condemned by business operators, with the Chamber of Resources and Energy saying it would be disastrous for the country.

The PNG Institute of National Affairs described it as extraordinary and called for the government to take a step back and focus on its core issues such as health, education and law and order.

TIPNG spokesperson Peter Aitsi said there is a general sense that the government has been less than forthcoming about its plans and the individuals involved.

He said if there is a public good in the proposed bill then it should be an open process.

"There should be broader consultation with the various stakeholders that will be impacted by such a bill.

"And so, clearly, that type of consultation has been absent, so it draws suspicion in terms of the intentions and actions of the government, particularly those that are driving it - that being the prime minister and the finance minister," Aitsi said.

He said from a community point of view this lack of transparency is unacceptable.

"If there is a public good then demonstrate it through an open public process and robust debate."