Prime Minister James Marape has said that his government has provided funds to complete multiple highways throughout the country. The roadwork payments are part of the government’s ‘Connect PNG Programme’, which has seen K2.4 billion in expenditure over the last three years, with K1.4 billion spent this year alone.

The funds have gone to multiple projects. For example, K400 million was used to complete the Yalu Bridge-Nadzab section of the Highlands Highway. Other expenditures included paying off debts on the 9-Mile to Yalu Bridge section and the outstanding Papua New Guinea counterpart financing of the Nadzab International Airport.

In addition, Deputy Prime Minister and Lands Minister John Rosso has established plans to build Nadzab Satellite City, which will complement significant developments planned in Morobe over the next few years.

Mr Rosso said, “The first section of the Lae-Nadzab Road from Bugandi to 9-Mile was dogged with controversy of inflated prices about ten years ago.

“After the Bugandi to 9-Mile section was completed, work on the next section from 9-Mile to Yalu Bridge was on an ad hoc basis, which saw the road deteriorate to such an extent that it became a national disgrace.

“It was only after my government came into office in May 2019 that we were able to retire all outstanding debts to contractors for the 9-Mile to Yalu Bridge section to be completed.

“Cabinet in January this year approved awarding of more than K1.4 billion of new road contracts throughout Papua New Guinea. Among these is K400 million for the Yalu Bridge-Nadzab four-lane highway.

“For more than ten years, the people of Lae, Morobe and PNG have been complaining about the bad roads between Lae and Nadzab. I am well aware of your cries as I, on my many visits to Lae over the years, have driven through the mud and potholes,” Mr Rosso said.

“I can assure you that you will have one of the best roads in the country when the Yalu Bridge-Nadzab section is completed. People will be able to travel in comfort from Lae to Nadzab and then get on an international flight once the new international airport is completed.

“This is the same story with the Japanese-funded Nadzab International Airport: The project was signed for in 2015 but never got off the ground because the O’Neill regime never provided the required counterpart funding.

“It was only after my government came into office in May 2019 that we provided the necessary funding for work to start on the airport,” Mr Rosso said.

Prime Minister Marape said Nadzab, Morobe, and Lae would see tremendous benefits following the sealing of the Highlands Highway Yalu Bridge-Nadzab Section, the opening of the Nadzab International Airport, and the construction of Nadzab Satellite City.

Built with funding provided by the Japanese government in partnership with the Papua New Guinean government, the new-look airport is nearly completed.

Marape said that the new satellite city, the result of an initiative between the Morobe government and the National government, will transform Lae and Morobe. The prime minister thanked DPM Rosso for his work on the project.

“It is a timely intervention with the giant Wafi-Golpu Mine soon to come on stream,” Marape said.

“I welcome this satellite city development, where the private sector and super funds will be major drivers in partnership with the State.

“Once completed, it will complement Nadzab International Airport and will be timely with Wafi-Golpu and the major agri-business developments in the Markham Valley of Morobe and Ramu Valley of Madang.

He added, “It will also provide home ownership for hundreds of Papua New Guineans.”

Image caption: The four-lane Lae-Nadzab Road at 9-Mile outside Lae. The Marape Government has paid for completion of the 9-Mile to Yalu Bridge Section, and the last remaining section from Yalu Bridge to Nadzab.