Local govt to run industrial zone

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PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has told Parliament that the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project will be transferred to the Madang government to manage.
Responding to Madang Governor Peter Yama’s questions regarding the status of the project, O’Neill said: “We have rescoped the project, redesigned it to include many commercial industries to utilise that project.
“We are now in the process of fully funding the Baiyer to Madang road.
“We have just signed final documentation around the Indian Exim Bank funding of US$100 million (K330million) for the project of which US$60mil (K) will go to the Bayer road.
“This project will now be accelerated and we have restructured the loan and it will be about K330.73m and this project will create thousands of jobs for the people in Madang.”
O’Neill said the project was initiated by the Somare government in 2005 and had awarded the contract through financing with Exim Bank but had encountered a number of problems.
“The project implementers, agencies, departments and leaders, who were tasked to implement this project mismanaged it,” he told Parliament on Friday.
“Some contracts were awarded to themselves and their cronies and as a result the monies were paid but nothing to show forth. This project also had issues with landowners due to poor consultation environmental issues, all these combined to frustrate the implementation of the project.”
Madang has huge commercial potential with access to the Highlands through a much shorter route via the Baiyer-Madang Highway, which will serve a large number of people.
“During the construction period and after the port and facilities, it will create enormous opportunity for our people,” O’Neill said.
“It will also give opportunities for the small to medium enterprise in Madang so they can have spin-off businesses around this big project and opportunity for local contractors to participate fully in the project.
“I have spoken to the deputy prime minister already to ensure that this project is now transferred to the provincial government to implement it,” O’Neill said.
Meanwhile, O’Neill will be in Madang after this session of Parliament for the launching of the extension to the airport and new terminal.
He will also launch six bridges.