Road infrastructure, agriculture, and investments are the focus areas of the Eastern Highlands Provincial Government under their 5-year development plan. Governor Peter Numu says with roads being a vital part of development, they have to be fixed first, before other developments can take place. With these plans, the government aims to grow the provincial economy.
“Firstly is to focus on road infrastructure as the foundation of more economic activities to take place. We have better road infrastructure, its easy for us to do business; bring our agriculture produce to the market area… that’s why we want to connect all areas in the Eastern Highlands.”
Governor Numu said once roads are connected, they will concentrate on agriculture and investments.
The Eastern Highlands Province is known to be a coffee growing province in the country. Over the years, the inaccessibility of good roads and markets have discouraged coffee farming.
“The strength that the Eastern Highlands people have is agriculture, coffee and other agricultural produce…We want to realise the potential that we already have and maximise that…”
In addition to agriculture Governor Numu says the provinces’ internal revenue will be focused on investments.
“In terms of investments we have to put first things first, roads – and then comes agriculture. With more business activity taking place, we are creating the environment conducive for investments to take place.”
One of the roads that are being built is the road from Kamaliki in Goroka, which will connect the Ungai-Bena District, right through to Chuave in the Chimbu Province, and will serve as an alternate route.
Prior to the road being built, locals walked several hours to get to their villages from the bustop in Kamaliki.
Jerry Lukipoi is a teacher who has been serving in the Ungai-Bena District for seven years. He said transporting materials to schools in the area was a struggle with the lack of road access.
According to Governor Numu, the Provincial Government plans to link all roads in the province by 2022 before they can concentrate on agriculture and investments.
By Lucy Kopana – EMTV News, Goroka