19 Sep 2002

Call for PNG government to spend money on major roading system

10:41 am on 19 September 2002

The new government in Papua New Guinea is being told that it must spend hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade the country's major roads.

The president of the Institute of National Affairs, Mike Manning, says more than 125 million U.S. dollars per year for the next five years needs to be spent on the Highlands highway because it's in such as state of disrepair.

He says coffee, copra and cocoa farmers are unable to get their crops to market because of the state of the highway and others like it.

Mr Manning says he doesn't know whether the money will be found.

"It depends first of all on finding donors and secondly on whether or not this new government is able to make the very hard decisions to re-allocate resouces into areas like road maintenance which are very important. And of course the Highlands Highway is only one of the major highways which is in a shocking state of disrepair. Both the Magi and Hiritano highways which emenate from both sides of Port Moresby have been completely impassable during the winter season or any time that it rains."

Mr Manning says there's been a 50 percent drop in coffee and copra production because the cost of getting the crops to market is so high and cocoa production has also dropped.