Maintenance costs vital for roadworks: Commission

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THE National Economic and Fiscal Commission (NEFC) says provincial and district administrations need proper planning for ongoing costs for road maintenance, particularly when planning for new roads.
NEFC chairman and chief executive Hohora Suve said it was unwise to spend money on new roads without realising the importance of the ongoing costs for maintaining  existing roads.
Suve said a provincial expenditure review conducted by the NEFC indicated that less than 50 per cent  of the maintenance functional grants, based on the cost of services estimates and allocated by the NEFC to provinces (around K15O million) was spent by provinces on road maintenance and infrastructure.
Suve said it concerned the NEFC that money was there to support road maintenance but was not being utilised according to the 2016 PNG Government Accounting System expenditure analysis. He said ongoing road maintenance must be a priority to safeguard public assets including roads, bridges and jetties.
“The execution of ongoing maintenance of roads must be better planned, budgeted and executed well,” Suve said.
Suve said these were constitutional grants and must be carefully planned, budgeted and executed for the long-term benefit of the community.
He said construction of new roads was always welcomed by communities but it was necessary to make sure that adequate funds were properly set aside for annual maintenance.
Suve said the NEFC was planning to conduct a pilot review of provincial work road maintenance plans with the Department of Works and Implementation to inform government on the systems and processes, including the effectiveness of maintenance plans.

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