Works Department Missed Out on K68 Million Road Works

Many Papua New Guineans are questioning the identity of the local contractors performing road works, and whether investing in the National Department of Works would be a better use of funds. The concerns are valid at a time when the Department of Works and Highways has announced a funding agreement of K68 million with four local contractors under the Tax Credit Scheme partnership.

The Connect PNG Policy is aimed at building the capacity and skills of local contractors and consultants. The contracts will involve specific and general maintenance, and repairs to the sealed pavement, drainage structures and road infrastructure. One of the larger contractors, Tura Holdings Limited, will conduct a K8 million road survey, geotechnical investigation, and preliminary design of the proposed four-lane road from Baroni Junction to Lealea Village, and Napanapa feeder roads along the Baroni Road.

Minister for Works and Highways, Solan Mirisim, explains that Connect PNG is not a single project but a program comprising road and bridge projects across 14 road corridors covering the country. Phase 1 of the program will run from 2020 to 2027, costing K7.982 billion. Phase 2 will run from 2028 to 2034, costing K6.754 billion, and Phase 3 from 2035 to 2040, costing K5.264 billion.

Minister Mirisim emphasises the importance of investing in local contractors to build their capacity and skills, which will ultimately benefit the country’s infrastructure development. Currently, there are 247 to 250 contractors operating, with an additional five contractors added through this agreement. Donors such as the ADB, World Bank, and the government of PNG through Connect PNG are contributing to the massive programs under the Connect PNG Policy.

To address concerns about the identity of local contractors, it is important to note that the four local contractors involved in this funding agreement are not named known. However, the ongoing partnership with Exxon Mobil and the Tax Credit Scheme suggests that these contractors are reputable and capable of performing the necessary work. Additionally, the Connect PNG Policy aims to build the capacity and skills of local contractors and consultants, which will have long-term benefits for the country’s infrastructure development.

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