The Voluntary Customary Land Registration (VCLR) system was developed to encourage landowners to register their customary land and lease it for development, the PNG National Research Institute’s latest publication reveals.

The report by Sustainable Land Development Program Research Fellow Logea Nao states that this is essential for customary land to join the formal market and for landowners to engage in formal and legal transactions over the use of their land.

“However, in practice, customary land leases derived from the VCLR system have been found to be unbankable due to risks concerning ownership and administration of land,” she says.

“If the intention is to make customary land leases bankable, the government should consider minimising disputes, cutting unnecessary costs and steps involved in land registration, and improving title registry and management.”

Ms. Nao said this would give confidence to lenders to extend credit, allowing business and investment to grow, create jobs, increase government revenue, provide revenue streams for landowners and safeguard customary land.

It is hoped that this research report, titled “Understanding how customary land leases can be made bankable in Papua New Guinea”, will contribute to the discussion around retaining ownership of customary land but releasing it for development.


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Authorised for release by:

Dr. Osborne Sanida
PNG NRI Acting Director


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