The National, Thursday June 20th, 2013
By ELLEN TIAMU
LAE should be given an “industrial capital city” status, a candidate for the local level government (LLG) elections says.
Thompson Benguma, an engineer who is contesting the lord mayor’s seat, said yesterday that he disagreed with a statement by current Mayor James Khay that the Lae City Council should become a commission like the National Capital District.
Benguma said many people, including Khay, viewed the commission status as the only way of acquiring more and funding from the Government but there were other ways to increase the city’s revenue.
The Morobe provincial government last month voted against Lae City Council becoming a commission.
“Morobeans cannot give Lae away just like Central did to Port Moresby.
“Lae is Papua New Guinea’s industrial capital and there is a need to promote the small and medium-sized enterprises sector and informal businesses people are currently involved in,” Benguma, who recently accompanied Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru to Singapore, India and Malaysia, said.
Benguma, who has been a resident of Lae for 36 years and the only waste to energy engineer in PNG and the South Pacific, said he is looking at impact projects such as converting waste to energy as a means to raising revenue for the city if he wins the mayor’s seat.
“I will also push for the national Government to enact a law to give Lae the Industrial Capital City status so that budgetary funding can be made available for the Lae City Council to manage the affairs of the city,” he said.
He said he would take the matter further with relevant authorities if he succeeded in the LLG elections.
“Lae City truly needs people with vision and innovative thinking who can think outside the box and find alternative ways to supplement the council’s annual budget instead of just waiting for the government to inject funds,” Benguma said.