March 11, 2014
March 11, 2014 marked a special day for the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Government of Japan and the rural people of Papua New Guinea who are suffering from the poor road conditions in the country.
A total of 48 pieces of road maintenance equipment were handed over to Department of Works (DoW) under the Government of Japan's Grant Aid "the Project for Improvement of Road Maintenance Equipment" through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The total value of equipment is equivalent to K21.6 million. This equipment will be divided into 4 fleets and transferred to 4 Works Provincial Offices: Morobe, Western Highland, East Sepik and West New Britain.
The Ceremony was held in National Rebuild Centre of DoW in Lae City, and a number of dignitaries were in attendance: Minister for Works Honorable Francis Awesa, His Excellency Hiroharu Iwasaki (Hashi), Ambassador of Japan to PNG and Mr. Shigeru Sugiyama, Chief Representative of JICA PNG, Acting Secretary for Works, Mr. David Wereh, Secretary for Transport, Mr. Roy Mumu and other representatives from organizations concerned.
In his speech, Minister Awesa said, "This assistance is extremely important and beneficial in light to accelerate Government's policy for re-fleeting DoW's own road maintenance equipment. And soon people will see that DoW comes back to rural roads to maintain them properly."
According to recent research, a staggering 90% of the national gravel roads have been left in poor condition in Papua New Guinea. One of the reasons is the limited number and excessive costs of domestic private contractors, particularly in rural areas. For the rural communities at the highest disadvantage to date, the equipment purchased can now be utilized to maintain deteriorated and impassable roads by DoW.
Along with this Grant Aid Project, DoW and JICA jointly initiated a Technical Cooperation Project "The Project for Capacity Development on Road Maintenance" last year. Through this project, a series of trainings are provided to operators, mechanics and engineers in 4 Provinces where the equipment is provided and a certain sector of roads are maintained using the equipment and trained DoW staff as a pilot project.
L-R: A/Secretary David Wereh, Minister Francis Awesa, H.E. Hiroharu Iwasaki (Hashi) and Chief Representative Shigeru Sugiyama pose in front of the project’s new equipment.
Ambassador Hiroharu Iwasaki (Hashi) presenting Hand-over key to Minister Awesa (center) as A/Secretary David Wereh and Chief Rep. Shigeru Sugiyama look on.