ROADS: A MA­JOR FO­CUS OF GOV­ERN­MENT IN­VEST­MENT

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Infrastructure - —Mark Baker, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor—pa­pua New Guinea, ANZ

Sched­uled road projects in Pa­pua New Guinea will re­quire in­vest­ment of around K7 bil­lion be­tween 2015 and 2018, ac­cord­ing to David Wereh, Sec­re­tary of PNG’S Depart­ment of Works and Im­ple­men­ta­tion. PNG’S es­ti­mated 30,000 km of roads, of which the 8700 km Na­tional Road Net­work is the key com­po­nent, are no­to­ri­ously hard to main­tain due to regular ex­treme weather events and de­mand­ing to­pog­ra­phy. But keep­ing roads open and us­able is crit­i­cal, es­pe­cially for PNG’S ru­ral econ­omy. Wereh told the 2014 Pa­pua New Guinea Ad­van­tage In­vest­ment and In­fra­struc­ture Sum­mit in Port Moresby that al­most K2.6 bil­lion of works are cur­rently un­der way. But, he warns, PNG’S poorly-main­tained ex­ist­ing roads rep­re­sent a ‘ time bomb’ for the coun­try. Wereh says the pri­or­ity projects over the next five years are: > re­build­ing the crit­i­cal 800 km High­lands High­way world

to ‘world stan­dard’ > up­grad­ing 70 km of Lae City’s roads > up­grad­ing Port Moresby’s roads > up­grad­ing and seal­ing 2500 km of PNG’S na­tional

high­ways > build­ing 1400 km of new ‘miss­ing links’ roads to connect

four key road cor­ri­dors > up­grad­ing pro­vin­cial roads. Mean­while, on Bougainville, a sec­ond ma­jor re­seal­ing project in two years has been com­pleted. The Au­ton­o­mous Bougainville Goven­r­ment, with the sup­port of the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment, has fin­ished re­seal­ing 14.4 km of road be­tween Mor­gan Junc­tion and Arakawau.

‘My cus­tomer is any­body who can shop, be­cause we get vil­lage peo­ple with­out shoes com­ing spend­ing 500 kina and then we get an ex­pa­tri­ate do­ing the same thing. Our shops must not be in­tim­i­dat­ing for ei­ther. It’s a bal­anc­ing act.

‘When we opened our flag­ship K100 mil­lion (US$38 mil­lion) Shop N Stop su­per­mar­ket at the new Waigani Cen­tre in 2014, I said to the guys, we don’t want to put off our base cus­tomers, who are the vil­lage peo­ple, so I had one of my store man­agers in his tra­di­tional High­lands out­fit just wel­com­ing cus­tomers. We just wanted to give the feel­ing that we were still the same store in a bet­ter and cleaner en­vi­ron­ment.’

The Depart­ment of Works and Im­ple­men­ta­tion’s David Wereh.

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