Tuesday, 25 August, 2020
The Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, today officially launched the Papua New Guinea Connect Infrastructure Development Programme at the APEC Haus, Port Moresby.
The PNG Connect Programme will build roads and maintain existing roads that will connect villages that have economic activities to the formal economy.
The implementation of the programme will develop 12,600 kilometres of strategic roads at the cost of K20 billion on a rolling 20 year programme
Mr Marape said the roads and other transport infrastructure like jetties and airstrip will open up economic corridors for Papua New Guineans so that they can go into business and create their own wealth.
“Connect PNG starts that process and every other infrastructure like telecommunication and electricity must overlay.
“In the next 20 years, we must visit the 462,000 Square kilometres of land with roads, ports, jetties, airports or airstrips, power and telecommunication.
“We cannot talk about increased productivity in agriculture, downstream processing forestry, marine resources and even tourism without connectivity.”
The Prime Minister said when the roads are opening up, the potential of rural enclaves will be unbundled and the people in those areas can participate in the formal economy.
“Opening up the missing links will increase the length of national road network by an additional 2,500 kilometres bringing rural access to 70%.”
“These will help to break the cycle of relying on just one or two sectors of the economy,” he said.
Papua New Guinea’s traditional development partners, Australia, Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, European Union, European Union Investment Bank (EIB), China Exim Bank and India Exim Bank have already committed financing of K20 Billion to fund the PNG Connect Infrastructure Development Program.
The Government on the other hand will also utilise the tax credit scheme of ExxonMobil, Oil Search and Ok Tedi.
The Prime Minister added that to address the issue of maintenance of deteriorating infrastructures, the Marape/Steven Government is developing a proposed Road (Management and Fund) Bill that will be brought before Parliament soon.
The Bill will replace the National Road Authority Act 2003 and the Road Maintenance Act 1971, creating a sustainable fund regime, by establishing the PNG Road Fund, to eliminate the accumulation of the maintenance backlog.
There is currently an accumulated maintainable backlog that will cost well over K20 billion.
The Prime Minister said his Government is also fully committed to developing national capacity so that local contractors in all sectors can participate and share in the benefits of development.
“Our people are not lazy. They are resilient and industrious. They will maximise the opportunities under PNG Connect to pursue their dreams,” Prime Minister Marape said.
The Prime Minister also called upon development partners to come on board and buy a part of the program.
He also expressed his gratitude to the PNG’s traditional partners: the people and Governments of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, China Exim Bank, India Exim Bank and the European Union for their contributions towards the development of Papua New Guinea.