The National – Monday, February 14, 2011
By ELLEN TIAMU
PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare has challenged the Ahi people, traditional landowners of land in and around Lae, to brace themselves for more developments and register their land as a starting point.
He was speaking at the commissioning of a sealed section of the Huon Road in Lae last Friday.
The 1.25km road, which runs from Admin compound to the junction at 7th Street in top town, was constructed by local firm Ahi Sieng in partnership with Dekenai Construction Ltd.
Sir Michael said the partnership showed that when Morobeans unite, they could make things happen.
Cement roads were being trialled in Lae to see whether they could better withstand the elements and the ever-growing number of vehicles using the roads. The government and provincial government had, over the years, spent millions on sealing using bitumen, but potholes had quickly developed with Lae earning the nickname of “pothole city”.
Only the Australian government-funded bitumen road, which was built more than 11 years ago, had withstood time although potholes had started to appear at certain places.
There were five construction companies engaged to overhaul certain sections of main roads within the city with another six tenders still awaiting confirmation.
The prime minister also announced that Ahi Sieng, a subsidiary of Ahi Holdings, would be awarded a contract to build another stretch of road from Voco Point through Chinatown and Bumbu to Malahang at a cost of K4 million.
Sir Michael said Lae, being the commercial capital of PNG, had also attracted a K500 million funding by the Asian Development Bank for the construction of a new port, which would be the largest in the Pacific.
Work to dredge silt build-up from the Markham River was still being carried out and when completed, construction would begin.
He also urged Ahi people to register their land and benefit from the government’s lease lease-back programme, which included other business areas.
Sir Michael said PNG now holds a reputable standing at the international business level.
The country’s second LNG project in Gulf, he said, would be the biggest for the country with an anticipated 9% growth in economic development this year.
The prime minister admitted that while his government was not perfect and would make mistakes, overall, it had made much inroad in delivering services to its people.