By Serah Aupong – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The national government is working to ensure OkTedi Mining Limited (OTML) will be able to pay K20 million annually towards the construction of the Tabubil to Oksapmin road.
Solan Mirisim, member for Telefomin, told EMTV News this morning that under the current tax credit’scheme arrangement, OTML is unable to contribute towards the road.
In November 2014, ground-breaking ceremonies were held in Tabubil and Oksapmin for a road to be built, to link the remote area in Telefomin District in Sandaun province to the mining township in Western Province.
The road is expected to cost K300 million and so far has received K10 million from the government in the 2014 budget.
Mirisim said special amendmen’s will need to be made by Finance and Treasury to the current tax credit’scheme arrangement the government has with OTML, in order for the road project to receive K20 million annually from the mining company.
He said in this year’s national budget there was no allocation for the road construction, something he told a media conference last week when commenting on the recent Kiunga plane crash.
All of the passengers who died in the plane crash a week ago were from the Telefomin Disctrict. This has ignited calls from Sandaun government leaders and officials for a road to be built to avoid further similar disasters.
Grieving and frustrated relatives of the victims also share similar sentimen’s. Some of the relatives were present during the ground-breaking ceremony which was officiated by the Prime Minister. They said losing 11 people is too many, and there has been many similar aviation incidents in their area.
So far, of the K300 million needed to complete the road, the government has given K10 million in the 2014 budget.
An additional K5 million was allocated in the 2015 budget, but the money has not been released as yet.
During the press conference last week, Mirisim called for a commitment by the national government to ensure construction of this road progresses, to avoid similar aviation disasters like the one which occurred last week.