Solo queries delay on Aitape wharf works

National, Normal

The National – Thursday, June 16, 2011

WORK on the Aitape wharf has not started despite K6 million funding made available since 2008 for PNG Ports Corporation to carry out rehabilitation.
West Sepik Governor Simon Solo raised the issue in parliament on Tuesday, questioning the Treasury and Finance Minister to give the exact date and time that work “will commence after three years of delay”.
Solo said the government, in its 2008 supplementary budget, appropriated K24.9 million for ports and jetties and out of this allocation K4.9 million was transferred to PNG Ports Corporation (PNGPC) for the rehabilitation of the Aitape wharf.
Solo said the money was kept in a trust account administered by the departments of transport and finance with their secretaries as signatories to the account respectively.
“Ports are gateways to PNG’s economies that facilitate growth through quality and efficient service delivery, sustainable investment in infrastructure and profitability through increased volumes of business activities,” he said.
He said business houses, government institutions, local communities and the general public depended on the state and successful operation of port facilities.
“It is one of PNGPC’s core responsibilities to facilitate such service for everyone as well as to generate revenue for the state.”
He said a cheque payment for K1 million was paid to PNGPC on March 18, 2008, as counterpart funding made by the Aitape-Lumi joint district planning and budget priorities committee in the arrangement PNG Ports would provide K4.9 million funding.
“As the Governor of West Sepik under which Aitape comes, I am very concerned that despite counterpart funding made more than three years ago, no work has commenced.
“Can the minister ensure that PNGPC begins work on the Aitape wharf immediately?” Solo asked.
Treasury and Finance Minister Peter O’Neill said it was regrettable.
He also promised to write to PNG Ports to explain the delay.