PAPUA New Guinea is still poor despite being richly blessed with the vast natural resources, Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris said last Friday.
Mr Kapris said the country, with a population of just six million, was poor in terms of its gross domestic and gross national products, with no improved living standards for the past 34 years.
“It is obvious that most of rural areas do not access to roads, jetties, telecommunication, education and health services.
“They have not been impacted by the country’s economic prosperity and this is not a positive indication of being a rich country,” he said.
Mr Kapris made the observation in Port Moresby when witnessing a K3.8 million cheque presentation by the Industrial Centres Development Corporation (ICDC) to PNG Power for an electricity project in his electorate, Maprik, East Sepik province, to supply power to small businesses there.
He said in realising the need for a better and economically improved rural population, the Government had prioritised rural development with the implementing agencies such as ICDC to carry out rural infrastructure developments projects.
Mr Kapris said to allow the rural people have access to adequate services, the Government was looking at opening up the economic corridors by way of building and linking rural roads, provide electricity supply, telecommunications services and other services so that the people could feel the real impact of Government services.
To put into action his words and concerns, Mr Kapris had jointly funded the Maprik (Balif) Business Growth Centre power supply at the cost of K5.8 million.
He said that K2 million had been allocated from the JDBPC.
Mr Kapris said he was optimistic that small businesses in his electorate would improve the lives of his people.
The electrification project would also cover Kubalia, Yangoru and areas along the Sepik Highway, he said.