Source: EMTV

Biggest Land Grab in PNG HistoryThe National Research Institute says Laws relating to Special Agricultural and Business Leases are outdated and do not cater to the needs of customary landowners.

The think tank is calling on the Government to scrap the S.A.B.L.s altogether in place of a new and independent working committee to work on a better legislative framework.

Professor Charles Yala remarked that government agencies that have been at the forefront of the SABL saga should not be included in the inquiry.

A draft report on policy issues and lessons raised from laws relating to SABLs was presented this morning.

The paper discussed how SABLs have been used as a vehicle to free up customary land for economic development. However, it’s been found that there is no administrative framework or system supported by a legislative framework.

Customary landowners are not properly protected by current policy. Landowners must be part of the Land Groups Incorporation Act. They are susceptible to unscrupulous developers.

With the findings of the inquiry into SABLs before government, Dr. Charles Yala urged the government to take action, for it to be scrapped altogether for a new working committee to write up new legislation.

Dr. Yala said government departments like the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Environment and Conservation and Forestry, who were involved in giving out SABL leases, should not be a part of the new committee.

The other important point raised was for all laws dealing with land to be harmonized.

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