Marape Thanks ADB

By: PNG Business News April 29, 2021

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been thanked by the Prime Minister for its long and constructive support for PNG's development.

PNG's main multilateral financing partner, the ADB, has been active in the country's growth for 50 years.

Prime Minister James Marape, Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey, Finance Minister John Pundari, Works Minister Michael Nali, Health Minister Jelta Wong, and Asian Development Bank Country Director David Hill met recently.

In the future, the Prime Minister demanded that ADB continue to assist the government and citizens of PNG in the transportation and health sectors, as well as in the energy and education sectors, as well as with much-needed State-Owned Enterprise reforms.

The Treasurer emphasized the importance of the ADB's friendly international assistance in dealing with the global COVID-19 pandemic.

He thanked the ADB in particular for the massive growth in project funding in recent years, which he credited to increased national budgeting and counter-part financing, as well as the $US500 million in budget assistance in 2020.

The Treasurer noted that the project loans under consideration are aimed at fostering a more prosperous and sustainable economy. The average rate of return is projected to be 12 per cent per year, with interest expenses of just 2% per year, resulting in annual growth of 10%.

The transportation and health sectors were also discussed in depth.

Minister Nali outlined the goals of the Marape administration's "Connect PNG" transportation sector plan, which is being developed by the ADB's newly approved "Transport Sector Preparatory Project" Project Readiness Facility for PNG.

The Trans-island Highway (Port Moresby to Lae), the Momase Highway (Somare Highway), and an expansion of the Highlands Highway and feeder road network west of Mt. Hagen will all be studied and designed as part of this initiative.

The project to rehabilitate and sustainably preserve 430 kilometres of the Highlands Highway, which was moving along nicely, was also discussed. There was some talk on how to improve the efficiency and quality of work of some contractors.

Minister Wong addressed the Health Services Sector Development Program, which is funded by the Asian Development Bank, as well as the COVID-19 assistance that the bank will provide in late 2020. Given the progress of these projects, Prime Minister Marape has asked the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to propose a new health-related initiative to fund the building of 15 provincial hospitals.

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