16 Nov 2016

Cancellation of PNG lease system welcomed

From , 4:02 pm on 16 November 2016

Papua New Guinea's National Research Institute has welcomed an announcement that all Special Agriculture Business Leases in PNG are being cancelled.

The SABL system was the subject of a 2012 Commission of Inquiry which found the majority of the leases were mainly used for forestry and largely fraudulently obtained.

Over 5 million hectares of land, or more than 10% of PNG's total land mass, is estimated to have been affected by the illegal leases.

The Prime Minister Peter O'Neil announced last week that the Department of Lands had been instructed to cancel all SABLs because it doesn't want rightful landowners to lose their rights to land.

He said where projects exist on SABLs, the government encourages the landowners to renegotiate leases arrangements with the developers.

An NRI researcher for the property development research programme, Eugene Ezebilo said the onus is now on converting SABLs into customary lease arrangements.

Harvested logs in PNG

Harvested logs in PNG Photo: RNZI/Johnny Blades