FR GIORGIO LICINI | Catholic Reporter
THE TOTAL BUAI (BETEL NUT) BAN in Port Moresby will remain in place, but not for ever. This was revealed by officials from the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) at a youth seminar on social issues held at St John’s Catholic parish in Tokarara over the weekend.
“Governor Powes Parkop is looking at a proper regulation of the betel nut trade and consumption,” said the NCDC’s Acting Manager for Social Services, Vincent Manukayasi, “but for the moment we need a total ban. It’s a shock therapy to make people realise that they cannot continue littering the nation’s capital by undisciplined chewing and spitting”.
Mr Manukayasi revealed that buai chewing costs the city treasury K10 million a year in cleaning contracts.
Governor Parkop is forcing the city residents into an educational process.
“People from certain provinces observe correct procedures of chewing betel nut in their homes and avoid spitting on roads and public places,” Mr Manukayasi said, “but others don’t.”
According to NCDC officials, as soon as the lesson is learned, proper licenses will be issued for the betel nut trade; but chewing on vehicles and public places will remain absolutely prohibited.
Authorities are also looking into alternative markets for the Central Province betel nut producers who normally supply Port Moresby;for example, shipping their products to the Highlands region via Kerema and Mendi.
According to Charlie Sarea from NCDC Social Services, studies are being undertaken to see if the betel nut components can be valuable for the bio-fuel industry; way creating a new source of income for the producers of the most treasured (and now controversial) PNG nut.