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PNG MP to utilise Indonesia ties

Papua New Guinea's North Fly MP James Donald is planning to establish a partnership with Indonesia to create market access and be engaged in infrastructure development for his people.

Donald said this is one of his priorities under his first 100-days plan in office.

The shadow minister for Renewable Resources, covering Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture and Livestock, said it is cheaper to bring in materials across the border from Indonesia than shipping them from Port Moresby to Kiunga or Tabubil in Western province.

Donald said his decision to look further west is in line with the current economic situation the country is facing and the need to cut costs and work within the district’s budget.

He said the Government’s decision to cut costs in some of its expenditure items means remote districts like North Fly, where it is quite expensive to deliver services, could miss out.

“Given the high cost of freight, involving logistics, out of Port Moresby, we must come up with best available alternatives, which are to look no further than Indonesia, which is just next door.”

The first-term MP said arrangements are underway to engage formal meetings with the Indonesian embassy to advance discussions on the need for the creation of a free trade centre along the border between North Fly and West Papua.

He added that partnering with Indonesia will enable better and quality infrastructure to be built along the border that will not only encourage economic development and trade between communities from both sides of the PNG-Indonesia border, but also benefit PNG Defence Force soldiers operating out of the Forward Operations Base in Kiunga.

Donald said engaging contractors from Indonesia will see quality roads built at reasonable costs compared to local contractors, who tend to charge exorbitant fees with little track record of completing projects on time and within budget.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

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