Grant for highway system Papua New Guinea
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Government of Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are assisting Papua New Guinea in implementing a master plan to help rehabilitate vital links along a key highway system in the country, improving access to market centers in rural areas.
The assistance is in response to the request of the Government of Papua New Guinea to ADB for help in initiating the rehabilitation plan for the Highlands Highway Network.
A $500,000 grant from the Japanese Government’s Japan Special Fund will finance the project preparation, with ADB managing the fund. Papua New Guinea will provide $185,000 in support facilities.
Through the grant, Papua New Guinea will draw up a feasibility study for the project, which would involve the rehabilitation of some 250 kilometers of road.
“Specifically the grant aims to prepare a rehabilitation project for the Highlands Highway, covering the Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces, to support economic growth through increased exports and improving rural access to markets and clinics said, Indu Bhushan, Director, ADB’s Pacific Department. “The rehabilitation of the Western part of the Highlands Highway Network is a unique opportunity for the Papua New Guinea Government and funding partners to work together to achieve development results.”
Land, air and water infrastructure in PNG has fallen steadily into a state of disrepair in the past two decades. “The resulting poor condition of sections of the Highlands Highway Network hinders access to essential services for much of the population, imposes high costs on business activities, and impedes both labor employment and expansion of investment in the country,” said Marcelo Minc, Principal Transport Specialist of ADB’s Pacific Department.
The country’s infrastructure has steadily worsened in the past two decades. Lack of funding and weakness in managing and delivering maintenance service are the main factors for the poor state of Papua New Guinea’s roads. The country needs a program of financing, structural and institutional reforms to address these impediments.
The Highlands Highway runs through the Highlands region, bringing to Lae Port PNG’s major export products such as; copper, coffee, and tea. The Highway also facilitates the distribution of imports in the region ranging from food to heavy machinery.
The Highlands Region is home to almost half of PNG’s population, and is strategically important to the country, as all major gas and oil fields, and gold mines are located in the western areas of the Southern Highlands and Enga provinces.