ROADS: A MAJOR FOCUS OF GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT
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.’