THE PNG Sustainable Development Program has gifted some of its assets to the Western Province community.

At a ceremony in Kiunga in February, PNGSDP chairman Sir Mekere Morauta handed over ownership of K13 million worth of housing and classrooms in Tabubil to Mine Area Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) representatives.

“We are very aware of the desperate need for development to continue,” he said

“PNGSDP did not cause the situation it is now in, where it has no funds to continue its social and economic development program, but we are determined that Western Province will continue to benefit as much as possible.”

He said the Mine Area CMCA would be able to rent the high-quality accommodation and classrooms to Ok Tedi Mining Limited or other organisations, or keep it for community housing or other appropriate uses.

“PNGSDP believes that the buildings can provide long-term sustainable income for the mine villages, if they decide to use the housing for commercial purposes.”

The housing consists of 12 duplexes in Andrews Street, owned by PNGSDP’s Star Mountains Institute of Technology (SMIT) and classrooms at the SMIT training Centre.

Sir Mekere also gifted company assets and programs in Daru and South Fly to the community through the Provincial Government and National Government bodies.

They included the Daru Water Treatment and Sewerage project, the Tawao’o Point wharf and the solar power kits used in the South Fly.

PNGSDP also gifted its 25 per cent share in Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) to CMCA representatives.

“The decision to give the share to the CMCAs is a very important step in the evolution of the way Western Province people are involved in social and economic development,” Sir Mekere said.

Sir Mekere said he always believed the people should have a big say in how the income from Ok Tedi should be spent.

“The CMCAs, representing the people affected by the impacts of mining, now have a big say in decisions that have a profound impact on their lives.”