THE Government has secured a $US239 million (K579m) loan from the Asian Development Bank to improve roads in the Highlands region and air services in the country.
Treasury Minister Don Polye and ADB country sirector Marcelo Minc signed the agreements yesterday in Port Moresby.
The second tranche of the Highlands Roads Improvement Programme will cost US$109 million.
It will be carried out by the Works Department.
The Civil Aviation Development Investment Programme (CADIP) costing US$130 million will be undertaken by the National Airports Corporation.
“The road programme approved in 2008 is a US$750 million plan that aims to make transport more safe and accessible by connecting rural roads to main roads and making provision for public transport,” Minc said.
“Under the first tranche, 115km of roads are being rehabilitated between Laiagam-Porgera (65km) and Mendi-Kandep (50km) using four locally-owned construction firms employing more than 500 nationals and providing improved market access and income earning opportunities for the people of Enga and Southern Highlands.”
He said the US$130 million loan was for 21 national airports that served more than three million people annually.
He said the programme would strengthen the safety, accessibility and reliability of air services.
It is expected to open new economic opportunities in regional centres.
“To date, the CADIP has upgraded airport facilities at Port Moresby’s Jackson Airport,” Minc said.
“It includes expanding the domestic parking apron, installing an updated instrument landing system and procuring three new fire safety trucks.
“The pavement at Hoskins Airport (West New Britain) will be upgraded and terminal facilities at Mt Hagen Airport (Western Highlands) would also be improved.”
Minc said CADIP had improved safety and security in five regional airports by installing fences which were identified as requiring emergency works.
They include Hoskins, Wewak (East Sepik), Kavieng (New Ireland), Gurney (Milne Bay) and Goroka (Eastern Highlands) to comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation safety and security standards.
Polye said the Government would provide counterpart funding of K217.17 million.
“The provision of transport infrastructure in PNG has been hindered by our rugged geographic conditions and extreme climate and that makes its supply and operation costly for businesses and our people,” Polye said.
“The projects will not only support the development of a safer national civil aviation network but would make road transport safer and accessible in the Highlands.”