The National, Friday 7th June 2013
By JEFFREY ELAPA
MAJOR developments are expected to take place in Southern Highlands with a new master plan and new provincial administrative structure in place.
Governor William Powi said this during the provincial assembly meeting and launching of the master plan in Mendi on Tuesday.
The plan was launched by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who is a member of the provincial assembly in his capacity as Ialibu-Pangia MP.
A brainchild of Powi, the plan captures all development needs of the province that is in line with the national government priorities of education, health, infrastructure, law and order, agriculture and increasing business opportunities for the people.
Powi said the master plan was a roadmap for development and for the first time he had set the benchmark for SHP’s development needs.
“The concept is not to achieve all development needs at once but to set a strategic framework for a short- to long-term development.
“It is set direction where the plan would direct a way forward and to take stock and restore, restructure and stabilise them,” he said.
“This is a bench mark I’m trying to set for this province during this transitional period by coming up with an overarching plan for the province.”
Powi said the provincial executive council had passed resolutions to address law and order issues to allow development to take place.
He added that the law and justice sector would work together with AusAID.
He said for the first time a lands settlement committee has been established while more focus would be given to police, in which he has already taken the lead in empowering police manpower.
He said the work of village courts would also be addressed.
Powi also announced the engagement of specialist consultants to identify causes of poor and failing standards in the education and health sector in the province.
He added that rundown coffee and tea plantations would also be revived in partnership with foreign companies that had shown interest in empowering locals to take over.
He also announced the establishment of the National Development Bank to assist people to secure loans from which the provincial government would make funds available for the people to access.
Powi said there were better and brighter days ahead for Southern Highlands under his leadership as he knows the problems of the province as the former boss of public servants.