State calls for land register

Comment: The Government is using the SABL scandal to push land registration, but land registration is a dangerous exercise as it can quickly lead to land alienation, and with corruption rife in the Department of Lands nobody should trust the government with their most precious resource...

Source: The National

OWNERS of customary land affected by the Government’s decision to revoke Special Agriculture and Business Leases have been urged to register their land and become title-holders.

The Government last week announced the cancellation of the 77 SABLs in line with the recommendation of the Commission of Inquiry report.

Officers from the Department of Lands and Physical Planning and the Constitution Law Reform Commission are calling on customary landowners to register their land under the Incorporated Land Group.

“Government has now assured the country of the revocation of the SABLs. SABLs just combine all our land together,” commission deputy secretary Isaiah Chillion said.

“Several clan lands are captured under SABLs. No boundaries were ever demarcated for each ILG.”

He said this would cause problems in SABLs for oil palm plantations.

“The SABLs are going to be revoked and I encourage the landowners to come through the customary land titles system.

“Get all your land registered, all your boundaries marked out properly before you even go back and combine them under SABL and agro-forestry types of enterprises.”

Chillion was speaking at the presentation of the fifth customary land title to the Dwa ILG from Kiunga, Western.

Lands Minister Benny Allen said the department was encouraging Papua New Guineans to hold onto their land titles.

He said some investors acquired land under SABLs but go into logging and do not replant trees, leaving the land in a bad state.