By MALUM NALU
THE Government has secured the K3.19 billion loan from the Asian Development Bank to upgrade and maintain the Highlands Highway.
Works and Implementation Secretary David Wereh, pictured, said the US$1 billion loan was for the repair and maintenance of the highway over a 10-year period (2017-2027).
A Government team made up of officers from the State Solicitor, Finance, Treasury, National Planning and Works had met Asian Development Bank officers from May 5 to 8 to finalise the loan.
This is the first time that the Government is able to align loan financing for a priority road.
He said it will “make money pay itself back, that will maximise returns and benefits on the investments we are making on the highway, and provide long-term solutions to issues we are currently facing”.
The secretary said the loan was obtained on a concessional rate, with a payback period of 25 years, at less than two per cent interest.
The first tranche of US$361.5 million (K1.15 billion) is now available for drawdown.
It will be used for the road sections in Chimbu, Markham Valley in Morobe and Eastern Highlands
“We believe that this is a right step in the right direction,” Wereh said.
“We cannot manage and maintain our roads on a piecemeal and ad hoc basis.
“We need to have a long-term programme, with identified and guaranteed funding source.”
By MALUM NALU