By BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
THE Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the PNG Government signed a loan agreement worth K209 million for the Port Moresby sewerage system upgrading.
The estimated project cost is K284 million, where K209 million will be loaned by JICA and the balance of K75 million by the Government.
The project will be undertaken by IPBC, partnered by Eda Ranu.
The signing was held last Friday morning between Treasury Secretary Simon Tosali and resident JICA representative Kyoji Mizutani and witnessed by key stakeholders including Public Solicitor George Minjihau.
Mr Mizutani explained that JICA would give the funding under an overseas development assistance loan programme as a soft loan with a 40-year debt facility at 0.2% interest per annum with a 10-year grace period.
According to Mr Mizutani the Japanese Government received a proposal from the PNG Government some years ago to upgrade the existing sewerage system in the city and after conducting its own investigations it confirmed that there was a need to do so.
In the investigations that Japan conducted, it identified that:
*Port Moresby’s water consumption demand had increased significantly.
*There was no sewerage treatment facility in the coastal areas although there was a sewerage system in the inland area.
*Untreated waste water was being directly discharged into the ocean
“This was viewed to be causing contamination of sea water quality in the coastal areas, causing serious problems in the environmental and social aspects,” he said.
He also said “there is a serious impact on the water quality and marine eco-system as well as in the aspects of sanitation, poverty and fisheries.
Mr Mizutani said Japan was pleased to be assisting PNG in this regard as Port Moresby was considered to be a rapidly growing city “with commercial activities booming and the city has been subject to some serious social and environmental issues along the coast”.
Mr Tosali said the loan was timely and the project was required as “Port Moresby is experiencing rapid urbanisation and increase in socio-economic activities” where the current sewerage systems cannot cater for.
The project will introduce a treatment system which will prevent pollutants from flowing into coastal areas.
This loan, according to Mr Tosali, will bring PNG’s total outstanding debt with JICA to K757 million “when it is fully drawn”.