The National, Tuesday February 11th, 2014
THE New Ireland provincial executive council has endorsed the Lighting New Ireland policy aimed at providing solar lights for rural health facilities and community halls.
The policy allows subsidising solar lights for churches and homes in rural communities.
Governor Sir Julius Chan announced the policy in December and surprised the people of the West Coast Tikana by having lights installed at the Usil community hall and Pangifua bush clinic for Christmas.
“With the success of the model lights, I am delighted the programme will be implemented throughout the province,” he said.
“We will start with the most remote areas first until the entire province has the blessing of light.”
The programme will see Omnivoltaic PNG Ltd partner with the provincial government to supply solar lights and implement the project.
The solar light comes in different configurations to suit lighting needs of health facilities, community halls, churches and households.
Distribution and installation of the solar systems is expected to begin late next month, with rural households and churches to benefit from a 50 per cent subsidy of the cost per unit.
Sir Julius said the policy initiative complemented other government programmes such as roofs-overhead, village beautification, model villages, village VIP toilets and other initiatives, which targets the rural areas.
All these policy initiatives are aimed at lifting the standard of living for the people in the long forgotten areas, especially the islands and the West Coast.
Sir Julius said once implemented the solar policy would allow people long working hours during the day and children to study at night.
He said this would improve their school results and lift the standard of education in the rural areas.
“My government is returning control of the wealth to the people by providing such initiatives and programmes that give the people confidence to be real partners in the development of New Ireland.
“All NI developments will be people-oriented to lift respect and living standard of our people,” Sir Julius said.