Highlands News

Western Highlands Development Plans

By Bethanie Harriman EMTV Mt. Hagen

As world commodity prices such as oil, gas and copper slump, affecting the economy of Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, announced a string of ambitious development plans for Mt Hagen city, the Western Highlands and parts of the Highlands region.

Papua New Guinea’s think tanks have already cautioned the government about spending money on infrastructure development, expected to run into the billions of kina.

In a recent visit to the Highlands’ main city to launch the Mt Hagen City Authority, O’Neill said funding allocations would start next week, including the first payment of the K50 million budgeted for the Mt Hagen City Authority.

O’Neill made it known in a public speech that the PNG government will sign an agreement to build a road from Western Highland’s Mul-Baiyer to Madang in partnership with India in the following week. 

The national government wants a link to an international port, which will be situated in Madang.

While those are the plans, the Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee, arrived in Port Moresby yesterday for a two-day visit to Papua New Guinea. 

When O’Neill was speaking to over 5,000 people in Mt Hagen two days ago, he said the visit’shows that India has confidence in Papua New Guinea. 

“The Indian President will visit our country, it is the first time in the history of this country,” he said. 

In the same speech, PM O’Neill said that the Mt Hagen Hospital would be upgraded to a state of the art hospital.

But the biggest announcement was the construction of a four-lane highway in Mt Hagen. 

“Next time I will be here, is to launch the four-lane highway,” said O’Neill. 

The section of the Highlands Highway between Asaro in the Eastern Highlands and Chimbu province will be improved. There is already a tender out for a contractor to complete the K450 million project. 

The funding source for the announced developmen’s hasn’t been made public yet, but it’s understood that’some of it could come from development partners through grants or loans.

The Kagamuga Airport redevelopment was part of an Asian Development Bank loan component, that was in partnership with the National Airports Cooperation.


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