The National, Tuesday October 8th, 2013
By MALUM NALU
PAPUA New Guinea has neglected important infrastructure like the Highlands Highway over the past 25 years, Works Minister Francis Awesa says.
Awesa told the PNG Institute of Engineers Port Moresby chapter dinner last Thursday that infrastructure in the country was nothing to be proud of when compared to other countries.
“Infrastructure, especially roads, airports, seaports is one of the most critical parts of our development agenda, and to which we have not given serious consideration for the past 25 years,” Awesa said.
“I’m saying this because if you look at the performance indicators of the past 10 to 15 years, we have not built any major infrastructure.
“We have allowed some of the most important infrastructure like the Highlands Highway to deteriorate to the extent that it is no longer passable in a lot of places.
“The cost to the nation is immense. What happens is that when the road conditions deteriorate, vehicle owners have to pay for spare parts, which I think is a big cost to the economy. Instead of allowing the person to diversify his business interests, he is forever a slave to the vehicle dealer.”
Awesa said the engineering profession was vital to the country.
“Engineering is an important profession,” he said.
“Why I’m saying this is because I believe that without infrastructure, especially roads, airports and seaports, no country can run.
“If you look at history around the world, the great nations of America, China, Europe, Australia, all of them have stuck with one objective: That is to provide reliable road networks, railway networks, seaports, airports in their country and they have moved.
“This is all because of engineers like you.”