By MALUM NALU
HELA’S favorite son, Prime Minister James Marape, made a two-day official visit to his home province on January 13 and 14.
Marape led a large delegation including Rachael Marape, Government ministers and officials, to Komo-Margarima.
At Komo, the Prime Minister opened the new St Paul’s Komo Junior Day High School, with a strong call for the people of Hela to put education as their number one priority.
He said he was a case in point himself, coming from a humble background, but valuing education and eventually becoming Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.
PM Marape presented K2 million to the school for further development into a secondary school.
The next day, thousands of people converged on Margarima – located at the crossroads of Hela, Southern Highlands and Enga – to see and hear PM Marape.
The Prime Minister asked the people of Margarima for their help in growing the station into a town as he launched several impact projects.
The projects included Margarima-Kandep (Enga) road, Margarima court complex, Margarima township road sealing, Komo-Margarima district electrification, Ambua-Nipa road sealing, Margarima Plaza, roofing iron factory, 1.1Megawatt diesel power supply, Hiri-Lai road sealing and Margarima station water supply.
Marape commended young Komo-Margarima MP and Vice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister, Manasseh Makiba, for the transformation of the district since he became an MP in 2017.
He presented K5 million to Komo-Margarima District Development Authority (DDA) to help in its development aspirations.
He was accompanied by Mrs Marape, Hela Governor Philip Undialu, Southern Highlands Governor William Powi, National Planning Minister Rainbo Paita, Commerce and Industry Minister William Samb, Inter-Government Relations Minister Pila Niningi, Forests Minister Solan Mirisim, Defence Minister Win Daki and Moresby North-West MP Lohia Boe Samuel.
Representatives of Government departments and agencies were also present for the momentous occasion.
“If you allow us use of your land, we can grow Margarima into a town,” PM Marape told the people.
“I want Margarima to grow instead of being like this all the time.
“I want the Hela Provincial Government to relocate some of its public servants, institutions and programmes to Margarima.”
The Prime Minister said sealing of the road between Margarima and Tari would be a breakthrough for delivery of goods and services.
He appealed to the people of Margarima to maintain peace and law-and-order for their district to prosper.
It was also here that he announced the awarding of more than K1.4 billion of new road contracts throughout Papua New Guinea.
The K1.4 billion worth of road contracts add to those already in place under the Marape Government’s signature ‘Connect PNG Programme’ for which about K1 billion has been expended over the last two years on roads throughout the country.
The Prime Minister announced the awarding of contracts of:
- K159 million for the Ramu-Madang stretch of the Ramu Highway in Madang;
- K147.5 million for the first stretch of the Wewak-Vanimo Highway up to Aitape;
- K115.9 million for the Momote Airport-West Coast Road in Manus;
- K164 million for upgrade of Imulima Bridge-Moreguina stretch of Magi Highway in Central, to eventually link up with Milne Bay;
- K70 million for Bautauma-Imulima Bridge section of Magi Highway in Central;
- K138.5 million for New Britain Highway from Kimbe in West New Britain to Kokopo in East New Britain;
- K400 million for Yalu Bridge-Nadzab Four-Lane Highway in Markham Valley of Morobe;
- K50 million for sealing of Kiunga-Tabubil Highway in Western, which will ultimately lead on to remote Telefomin in West Sepik;
- K15 million for sealing of Daru Town roads;
- K66 million for Bulolo Highway resealing; and
- K80 million for sealing of Halimbu-Koroba Road in Hela;
These add up to K1.4 billion.
“Over the last two years, we have spent almost K1 billion on roads all over Papua New Guinea,” PM Marape said.
“That’s why roads are already going into remote places like Maramuni in Enga, Karamui in Chimbu, Simbai in Madang and Finschhafen in Morobe.”
- Malum Nalu works with the Office of the Prime Minister