21 Jun 2007

PNG's Gobe gas landowners owe lenders millions of dollars

11:32 am on 21 June 2007

Pressure is mounting for landowners of the Gobe gas project in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands province to pay back more than 5.5 million US dollars owing to 30,000 creditors.

The Post Courier reports the landowners admitted to borrowing the money from villagers and businesses because the government failed to settle disputes around land ownership.

Creditors are now warning landowners to clear their debts before next month's election, or face disruptions to services along the Highlands Highway.

In 1998 the then Petroleum and Energy Minister Masket Iangalio, signed an agreement with the landowners to provide basic services and pay royalties to landowners, but they allege nothing has been done.