Use of Foreign Consultants to Review Mining Act & Polices.
The Resource Owners Federation of PNG Inc. calls on the government to immediately stop the use of Foreign Consultants by the Department of Mining to review the 1992 Mining Act and Mining policies. The use of such consultants in the past has deprived the country and citizens of a fair return in royalties, equity and other benefits from mining their mineral deposits. The laws and policies have been written to benefit the foreign Investors at the expenses of the citizens. This is why the country has been and continues to be branded as an “improvised watershed” of a nation, when it is richly blessed with natural resources. Our Political leaders and civil servants are either incompetent or stupid to continually use foreign consultants even when such practice is prohibited by the National Goals and Directive Principals of our National Constitution.
Section 279 subsection 3 of the Constitution among others call for the “ strict control of foreign investment capital and wise assessment of foreign ideas and values so that these will be subordinate to the goal of national sovereignty and self –reliance, and in particular for the entry of foreign capital to be geared to internal social and economic policies and to the integrity of the Nation and the People; and the constant recognition of our sovereignty, which must not be undermined by dependence on foreign assistance of any sort, and in particular for no investment, military or foreign-aid agreement or understanding to be entered into that imperils our self-reliance and self-respect, or our commitment to these National Goals and Directive Principals, or that may lead to substantial dependence upon or influence by any country, investor ,lender or donor.
The Minister and Secretary of Mining must now explain to the nation the reasons for their continued use of foreign consultants to review the 1992 Mining Act and Policies, contrary to the above provisions of the National constitution, knowing that the use of such consultants in the past has deprived the nation and its citizens of fair social and economic benefits arising from almost all the mining projects in this Nation. The Action of the Minister and the Secretary amounts to serious breach of the National Constitution and we call on the Prime Minister to take appropriate action to remedy this serious breach of duty to protect the National Sovereignty of the Country.
The consequence of the actions of the Minister and Secretary are evident in the results of the work produced by the Consultants. For example: the amended Mining Act proposes to lock mineral royalty rates at 2% while mineral royalty rates in other countries in our Asia Pacific region average at above 10%. The current rate maintained since 1992 is 2%. What possible justification can the Minister and Secretary for Mining offer to the Nation other than to say that, this is what we have been advised by our foreign Consultants? The amended Act further proposes that equity participation by landowners and Provincial governments be maintained at 5% each. What possible justification do the Minister and Secretary for Mining have, other than to say that is what their foreign Consultants advised? The Minister and Secretary are Public office holders and their use of foreign Consultants in breach of the Constitution amounts to misconduct in Public office and both must face investigation by the relevant government Authority.
We call on all Members of Parliament not to vote for any amendment that denies this country and its citizens of fair social and economic returns for the extraction of minerals from our Soils.