BDG payment for 38 lancos put on hold
By MOHAMMAD BASHIR (Post-Courier, 19/10/10)
The Department of Commerce and Industry (DCI) finalized 38 landowner companies (lancos) for Hides PDL1 and PDL7 licence areas to be paid their business development grants and forwarded it to Treasury department last week, citing sensitivity in those areas. That has unfortunately been put on hold because a restraining order has successfully been taken by chairman of Gigira Development Corporation chairman Stanis Talu against DCI, Finance and the State from making any payments.
On September 13, DCI acting Secretary John Andreas in a letter to Treasury Secretary Simon Tosali listed the 38 approved lancos and associations to be paid BDGs.
The first 13 lancos for other licence areas were paid on September 7 by Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris at March Girls resort outside the city in a low key ceremony. “I refer to my earlier letter to you and once again request for your concurrence in facilitating payments for Hides PDL 1 and PDL 7. We have successful disbursed the first 13 cheques to Landowner Companies identified under LBBSA at a low key ceremony held at the March Girls Resort on September 7. Minister for Commerce and Industry, Gabriel Kapris and senor officers of line government agencies were present during the ceremony".
“It has now become necessary for DCI to resubmit the list for Hides PDL 1 and Hides PDL 7 due to the sensitivity of those projects areas and associated disputes that are likely to arise from disparities in benefit distribution. The list of companies is retyped on the body of this letter to avoid tampering of the list which is highly likely considering the amount of money to be disbursed and the ongoing politics of the project,” Mr Andreas wrote.
“It is from our view that this list is final. The list was developed through an exhaustive consultation process with ExxonMobil, Oil Search, Landowners and DCI acting on behalf of the State. Most of the companies listed have also submitted EOI’s to DCI for seed capital and the nomination process is complete,” he added.
The list Mr Andreas said was a generally agreed position by key stakeholders of the project and must be facilitated as soon as possible. He said delays may cause the State problems in mitigating court injunctions that are currently becoming a common practice by disgruntled landowner companies.
“The position of DCI is to allow the 30-30-40 percentage distribution split to be applied fairly across licensed areas for Hides PDL 1, Hides PDL 7, Angore PDL 8, and Juha PDL 9. The State’s official position in response of Hides PDL 1 and PDL 7’s nominated Lancos falls within the framework of NEC Decision 95/2010, directives 5, 7 and 9,” he said.