By Rachael Shisei – EM TV News, Madang
The Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project was approved by the PNG government in 2006, seeing them sign a loan agreement worth US$95 million with China’s Exim Bank in the year 2010.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, at the launch of the PMIZ mentioned that the government may need to borrow more money to be able to pay back their initial loan. This in part to an 11 year delay in the projects completion, and a project cost blown well beyond budget.
“The project’s cost has gone up by 50 per cent today. You may be saying that it is the government’s problem and that’s alright because the government will get more loans and while it’s repaying the debt, your benefits will be delayed,” said the PM.
Ambassador of China to PNG, Liu Riong, after congratulating Madang Province and the country said the PNG government made the right decision by creating and adapting policies to cater for the project.
Trade and Commerce Industry Minister, Richard Maru, in turn announced the promises of having the project in the province.
“The PMIZ will create 30,000 jobs at Vidar, it will provide for the demand of a new power station and water supply system to supply to the PMIZ, the impact communities and the township of Madang,” said Maru.
The Minister went on to make an appeal to the Prime Minister to advertise to the world and attract investors into Madang Province, and as a government, ensure that all tuna and other fisheries products are processed in the country.
Madang Governor, Jim Kas, thanked the Prime Minister and assured the delegation that the province welcomes the project before letting out certain demands that the project must see occur in the province.
“Infrastructure-wise, we would simply ask for a four-lane highway from Madang town to the PMIZ site, to ease the traffic congestion,” said Kas.
Apart from the four-lane highway, Governor Kas requested that the education system in the province be improved, and another hospital must be built.
He also mentioned that the provincial government will take environmental issues surrounding the project seriously.