The Steamships Trading Company has made the first step in reclaiming its former holdings in Bougainville by agreeing to abide by the terms of the Autonomous Bougainville Government on inward investment.
Managing Director Rupert Bray was in Toniva, Central Bougainville to break ground and fulfill customary obligations with the landowners before the company moves back to Bougainville.
Mr Bray expressed the company's gratitude to the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the people of Bougainville.
“Steamships is grateful for the confidence the ABG has in us by allowing the company to reclaim the lands we leased before the Bougainville Crisis,” Mr Bray said.
He said the company has had a long history with Bougainville and they hope to continue this relationship.
President Ishmael Toroama who was also present at the ceremony expressed his gratitude to the Steamships Trading Company.
“Your confidence in my government gives confidence to other would be investors and companies who are interested in conducting business on Bougainville,” President Toroama said.
“It signifies that Bougainville has returned to normalcy and we have a conducive business environment that is ready to exploit the various investment opportunities on our resource rich islands,” President Toroama added.
Prior to the Bougainville Crisis there were a lot of reputable companies who were based on Bougainville. Many of these companies have titles to leased land on Bougainville as exemplified by this move by the Steamships Trading Company.
President Toroama said the ABG will be making an announcement to these companies to return to Bougainville to reclaim their lease holdings should they choose to.
He said this invitation will be open for only a six-month period and under a new terms of agreement with the ABG the leases will be for only 25 years with the option for an extension.
“l wish to thank the Managing Director of the Steamships Trading Company Mr. Rupert Bray for your confidence in Bougainville,” President Toroama said.
“I believe you will be an important partner to Bougainville as we draw to a close our journey to self-determination and begin the new one as an independent nation,” President Toroama added.
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