By OSEAH PHILEMON
TRADE, Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris has called for a united approach to fixing the Lae roads.
And he has put his hand up to work with the Morobe provincial government to fix the problem.
Mr Kapris made the commitment after Morobe Governor Luther Wenge made a public plea to the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to help fix the Lae roads at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium during a speech welcoming the women of Papua New Guinea and the prime minister for the first-ever Women In Business expo.
The Governor said Lae was the hub of commerce and industry and the biggest port for PNG’s exports–its roads were in a terrible state.
Sir Michael responded later, saying the Government would help.
Mr Kapris later told Mr Wenge that he was ready to help the Morobe Governor tackle the Lae roads problem.
Mr Kapris, an engineer by profession, said infrastructure was vital to the growth and progress of business and bad roads would drive the cost of business higher.
At a dinner hosted by the Morobe provincial government, Mr Kapris said infrastructure continues to be a major factor hindering not only the small to medium scale enterprises but the general welfare of business and also new investments.
“ Utilities, wharves and airports, roads and bridges are essential infrastructure that businesses depend on to provide efficient and reliable services to the consumer.
“In the absence of that, the private sector can provide the service but the costs of providing that would be passed on to the consumer,” he said.
“Morobe province is not only the biggest province in terms of geography and population but also a very strategic location in the country.
“The port of Lae plays a crucial role as a partner in the economic and industrial development of this country.
“ This is where we need very innovative workable advice from our engineers and civil planners.
“The K400 million Lae international port redevelopment and extension work is in progress as we speak.
“As minister responsible for business, I can only talk about business and commercial activities but cannot move forward unless the basic infrastructures are in place.
“That is why as a Government we need to work in partnership with our other stakeholders to address these issues.
“We must come together and seek ways to tackle this issue and together we can progress as a business, as a city and as a country,” Mr Kapris said.