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By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 3) - The Asian Development Bank-funded fishery facilities and office complex in Kavieng, Papua New Guinea, have remained unused after being completed four months ago, Member for Kavieng Martin Aini said yesterday.

Mr Aini said local fisherman have been asking why the facilities are not in operation.

Likewise, business operators are asking about the possibility of using the office complex.

Mr Aini also asked why operators who made submissions to the National Fisheries Authority in response to a tender for office space have not received a response from NFA.

"In early February the provincial administration hosted a delegation from Asian Development Bank; the delegation was impressed with the complex but the major concern was there was no activity on site … it was embarrassing for the provincial administration for being unable to advice the bank representatives as to why the complex was not in use."

"The fisheries complex represents a major income generating activity for the people of New Irelands and success or failure of this project will reflect directly on the province capacity to attract other similar infrastructure projects."

But Fisheries Minister Ben Semri denied this, saying the fisheries facilities are in operation and the office complex is fully occupied.

Mr Semri said an expression of interest was launch in 2002 which attracted a number of applicants that were screened by the NFA.

He said the tender process took longer than expected causing the delay but successful tenders were notified last April.

"Currently, there is no space available within the complex, the current office space is occupied by ADB coastal fisheries management, and also the New Ireland provincial fisheries division and the PNG Harbors Board."

He said a fuel depot is located in the area and for safety requirement a minimum of activities is necessary within the complex.

Mr Semri said an agreement has been signed between PNG Harbors Board to manage the wharf and a lease agreement was also signed.

He said NFA was aware that an operator had started work by providing ice and eskies to local fisherman to catch and sell their fish.

August 4, 2004

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