Prime Minister James Marape has always been vocal about connecting the whole of Papua New Guinea by road since taking Office in 2019 and returning after the recent National General Election.
Prime Minister Marape continues to speak about the Connect PNG Program of which his Government has already commenced work on and ensuring funds are available to realize his vision.
The Marape-Rosso Government has now legislated the Connect PNG Program making it legally binding for the next 20 years.
This will now ensure successive governments are obliged to make funding available for the program, which commenced in 2020 and will conclude in 2040.
The estimated total cost is around K20 billion. This is a major public funded infrastructure development program ever undertaken in the last 47 years.
This year, the people of Papua New Guinea will witness the launching of three of the six roads identified to be funded under the Connect PNG Program.
They are the Manus East West Highway, which was launched on November 3, Vanimo-Wewak Coastal Highway, which was launched on November 17 and East and West New Britain Highway, which will be launched before the end of this year.
During the launch of the Wewak to Aitape Road Upgrading and Sealing Project under the Connect PNG Program, Minister for Works and Highway Solan Mirisim emphasized that the Marape-Rosso Government is committed to empowering all Papua New Guineans with sustainable and improved road connectivity and accessibility to a whole range of activities including easy access to basic goods and services and access to markets for their vegetables and cash crops.
“I must highlight and emphasize that the Connect PNG Programme is a National Roads Infrastructure Development Programme implemented in all regions and provinces. It involves improving existing key economic roads and constructing the missing links,” he said.
“In the medium term, the programme aims to connect the Momase and Highlands Regions to the Southern Region through the Trans-national Highway by 2025.
“For the long term, the programme aims to have 100 percent road connectivity from the Wutung Border Post all the way to the East Cape in Milne Bay Province. The Minister for Works and Highways said the Sepik Coastal Highway is part of a larger road network under the Connect PNG program that is considered as the Momase Economic Road Corridor that starts from the Wutung Border Post, passing through East Sepik and Madang provinces and ending in Morobe Province.
“Marape-Rosso Government recognises the strategic importance of the Momase Economic Corridor Road Network and its huge potential to effect socio-economic development in the Momase Region and PNG as a whole.” Mr Mirisim said the Sepik Coastal Highway is valued at K139.85 million.
An initial funding of 10 percent of the total value has already been paid to the local Contractor, Green Hills Limited and the road works will cover 40 kilometres of the 1,318 kilometres of the Momase Economic Corridor road network.