By PATRICK TALU
THE Philippine-based South Pacific Seafood Company (SPSC) is investing in a fishing port facility in Central province that will inject K40 million into the local economy.
Central Governor Alphonse Moroi described the project as “the biggest investment ever undertaken by his government”.
He said it would transform the local economy, especially the Motuan villages along the east and west cost of Papua, and boost the local fishing industry.
The K40 million is part of a US$50 million (K134 million) that was agreed during a bilateral agreement signed between Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and SPSC in March last year, under a public private partnership arrangement.
SPSC will build four fishing port facilities in West New Britain, Central, Morobe, Milne Bay and Manus with a 10% (K500,000) contribution from the provincial governments as bond fee or shares to the project.
Chairman and managing director for SPSC, Wilson De Vera, while receiving a K500,000 bond fee payment from Mr Moroi, said the investment was the biggest in the country that would boost local small scale fishermen and improve the socioeconomic standard of the people in the selected provinces.
“This project is going to have a huge impact on the communities along the Central province coast where the fishing zones are.
“We are looking at transferring skills and knowledge to local fishermen to handle fishing vessels and all other traits involved in fishing and marketing.
“Most importantly, they will have direct access to market where they will sell their day’s catch with the equipment and facilities provided under the establishment port facility,” Mr De Vera said.
Mr Moroi assured Mr De Vera that his government would standby to support and see the project become reality.
The port facility will comprise of a storage facility, fishing vessels, boats, fishing facility for major fishing canners and exporters and all other facilities associated with fishing.
First secretary to Fisheries Minister Ben Semri, Felix Tapie, conveyed Mr Semri’s assurance that the ministry and the department would be working closely to get the project running smoothly and to ensure that people get the maximum benefit.
The port facility will be established at Mirigeda outside Port Moresby along the Magi Highway
Feasibility studies are completed and the project is expected to kick start in June.