ISAAC NICHOLAS in VANIMO
THE National Executive Council has approved K2.2 billion for the development of six border provinces over the next 10 years, Finance and Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch announced last Friday.
Sandaun, Bougainville, Western, Manus, Milne Bay and New Ireland are the border provinces which will benefit from this Government programme.
The Treasurer announced this during the launching of the Border Development Authority (BDA) corporate plan 2009-12 and the 10-year development plan in Vanimo last Friday.
Mr Pruaitch said a government team would travel to Malaysia later this year to seek a loan to fund the 10-year programme.
The BDA was set up with a K40 million funding from the Government.
Sandaun will be used as a pilot project with the allocation of K350,000 for the construction of a new cell block for the Correctional Services in Vanimo and building of a defence attache’s house in Jayapura, Indonesia. Mr Pruaitch and Forest Minister Belden Namah, who is the MP for Vanimo-Green River, also presented two new vehicles to the PNG Defence Force and two to the police to boost their capacity to monitor the border between PNG and Indonesia.
The occasion drew more than 2,000 Vanimo residents.
Also present were Sandaun Governor Simon Solo, Telefomin MP Peter Iwei, BDA board members, secretary for Works Joel Luma, Customs boss Garry Juffa, Department of Personnel Management secretary John Kali, Finance secretary Gabriel Yer, Assistant Police Commissioner Jim Andrews, PNGDF Chief of Staff Tom Ur and PNG Sustainable Development manager Camilus Midire.
Mr Pruaitch, who is the Minister responsible for the BDA, commended the board and management for putting together a comprehensive plan in a short time.
“It is common in all six border provinces that there is a high cost of service delivery,” he said.
Mr Pruaitch said it was very costly to deliver education services to a place called Yapsie along the PNG-Indonesia border or to outer islands in Milne Bay and Bougainville.
“Development indicators are showing that border provinces are lagging behind. We live here carrying the pain of lack of basic services,” he said.
It is hoped that the K2.2 billion allocation over 10 years will improve some of these services.
BDA executive chairman Pomat Manuai said it was an honour to present a corporate plan that provided a broad overview of the strategic directions of the authority and areas of focus for 2009-12.
Infrastructure to be built with the massive funding includes border posts, security monitoring systems, detention centres, staff houses for relevant agencies like police, Defence, NAQIA, teachers and health workers.
The BDA board members and a media contingent travelled across the border to Jayapura to witness developments on the Indonesian side of the border, and visited the proposed site for the new defence attaché’s house in Jayapura.
They returned to Vanimo yesterday afternoon after spending a night in the West Papua city.