Caption: Kurumbukari LOA Chairman watch BSP officers open clan accounts for Ramu Nickel Project landowners at Enekuai relocation village on Tuesday.
By JAMES G. KILA
THE RAMU Nickel Project in Madang province has set a bench-mark for future mining projects by engaging commercial banks to provide financial literacy training and then opening up clan accounts for its landowners to receive their royalty payments.
Chairman of the Kurumbukari Landowners Association, Tobby Bare stated on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at Enekuai relocation village on Kurumbukari plateau in Usino-Bundi district during the opening of clan and personal accounts for the Ramu Project landowners.
Barre cited that payment of royalties for mining projects in PNG has had a bad history in the past with landowners not utilizing their monies wisely.
However, for Ramu NiCo Project to bring Bank South Pacific to conduct financial literacy training and then opening up banking services right at their door-steps of the remote landowners is a totally new thing and a history in itself,
“What Ramu NiCo is doing is really setting the precedent for future mining projects in Madang and PNG where landowners receive financial literacy prior to opening their bank accounts” Barre said.
Ramu NiCo (MCC) through its Community Affairs Department Lands and Compensation Section had arranged with the BSP Madang Branchless Sales Team lead by Robin Mea to travel to its four impacted areas in Rai Coast and Usino-Bundi to conduct literacy training and opening of clan/sub-clan and personal accounts for the landowner.
BSP Bank Branchless Sales Team Leader, Mea explained that the financial literacy training is a program of the Bank of PNG (BPNG), which all the commercial banks in the country are rolling out to inform people of the wise use of saving monies.
The program was also supported by the Mineral Resources Authority with its Ramu Project Liaison Officer, Nicholas Waipuk, accompanying the team in the roll-out.
The four project impact areas include, Inland Pipeline, Coastal Pipeline, Kurumbukari and Basamuk.
Director of Mines with the Madang Provincial Administration, John Bivi, who joined the team at Enekuai on Tuesday, said the Ramu Nickel Project is setting an encouraging precedent, which the new Yandera mining project also in Usino-Bundi district should follow suit.
Barre said the literacy training and opening of bank account for the landowners in their remote settings is the first of its kind in PNG, which is making banking services accessible to the people.
He cited that very often it is too difficult for a villager to do banking in town, due to several conditions set by the banks, and even to secure witnesses for identification purposes takes time and effort, and many a time rural folks just refuse saving their monies in the banks.
“Today, banking services is coming right to your door-step, so I encourage you all to make good use of it for your benefit and your future generation.” Barre told the people who gathered to open their clan and individual bank accounts at Enekuai village.