Prime Minister James Marape says the Government is investing in key infrastructure development such as the K125.7 million Kavieng Airport Development.
He said this on Thursday, November 3, 2022, when opening the project which he launched in June 2020, built through the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded Civil Aviation Development Investment Programme (CADIP) and Government counterpart funding, in front of a massive crowd in the New Ireland capital.
The project covered pavement strengthening and 500m runway extension to achieve a total length of 2200m;
construction of the new terminal building; construction of the new airport market facility;
construction of the powerhouse and installation of standby power supply;
installation of an airfield lighting system; installation of water supply;
and a new carpark.
PM Marape thanked ADB for its support of CADIP since 2009 which will continue through CADIP II.
He also announced:
• K10 million for expansion of Kavieng Town and urged local landowners to free up land for this purpose; and
• That a new port would be built in Kavieng through Australia-PNG partnership.
The Prime Minister and a large delegation from Port Moresby arrived in an Air Niugini Boeing 737 aircraft to demonstrate that Kavieng Airport can now handle international flights.
He was accompanied by Civil Aviation Minister and Namatanai MP Hon. Walter Schnaubelt, Treasurer and Kavieng MP Hon. Ian Ling-Stuckey, Finance Minister Hon. Rainbo Paita, ADB Country Director David Hill, management of major airlines Air Niugini and PNG Air, department heads, provincial administration representatives, local leaders and the New Ireland people.
Meantime, across the Bismark Sea in Manus, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. John Rosso opened the East-West Coast Highway Redevelopment.
“This indicates that the Government of today is willing to invest in key economic infrastructure to carry the economy of the country forward,” PM Marape said.
“This sort of infrastructure has a return on investment.
“This airport in Kavieng has a return of 16 per cent-plus.
“This is economic-enabling infrastructure to anchor New Ireland and this part of the country so that you are not just a contributor from Lihir (mine), but can now go the next mile in as far as the economy is concerned.”
PM Marape challenged the people of New Ireland to break away from the status quo and work with Government in developing the economy.
“The Government is investing and focusing on going back to agriculture, fisheries, tourism and sustainable forestry and wants to work with provincial government in this space,” he said.
PM Marape cited the case of the small Pacific island nation of Vanuatu which had a population of only 300,000 people but attracted 88,000 tourists in 2020.
“If 50,000 tourists come to Kavieng, and each of them spends K1000, that is K50 million for the New Ireland economy,” he said.
“This is more money than from the Lihir mine. “In a place like New Ireland, where law-and-order is not a major issue, we are willing to invest more.
“I want to talk about opening up Kavieng Town; opening up tourism, agriculture, fisheries in New Ireland. “I want to talk about power-generation for reliable power in this province.
“I want New Ireland, over the next 10 years, to become a strong economic contributor through not only agriculture, but especially tourism and fisheries.”
PC: Rolland Banaba