The National, Friday May 6th, 2016
THE Sepik provinces have signed a pact with the Indonesian Government to transform Wewak and Vanimo towns into cities like the Indonesian border city of Jayapura.
Wewak town mayor Charles Malenki, Vanimo mayor Jerry Kinna and their Jayapura counterpart Benhur Tommy Mano signed a memorandum of understanding for sister-city relations in Jayapura, Papua province last week.
This MoU is to boost investment cooperation, trade and tourism education, sports and cultural exchanges, health, transportation, agriculture and fisheries and other fields agreed.
West Sepik Governor Amkat Mai, Wewak MP Jim Simatab and Vanimo-based Indonesian consul Elmar Iwan Lubis attended the event in the Jayapura mayor’s office last Wednesday.
Mai said that the signing of a MoU of sister city relations between Jayapura city, Vanimo and Wewak town was the first step and opened a new history for the development of all three cities.
“For us the cooperation with Indonesia is an opportunity to make Vanimo a gate to Asian countries in line with PNG’s Look North policy.”
Mai said that during his visit to Jakarta and Surabaya recently, he had discussed the need for PNG and Indonesia to provide free access of ships from Jayapura directly to Vanimo, for onward sailing to Wewak, Madang and Lae.
“In return, PNG cargo ships may return with agricultural and mining products from PNG to Indonesia via Vanimo and Jayapura.
“We see that Indonesia’s products go in to Sandaun through Surabaya port, Singapore, Brisbane, Lae and Wewak and to Vanimo which really require additional time and extra cost.”
Meanwhile, the Indonesian consul said that the MoU reinforced good relations and cooperation between both countries. “I am very happy that the MoU we explored two years ago finally had been signed so that cooperation which has existed in the field of trade education, agriculture and cultural exchanges can be increased further for the mutual benefit of our peoples,” Lubis said.