PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 4) - It looks ugly in the middle of Lae City in Papua New Guinea and has become home to prostitution. It is time to develop the old Lae Airport land and allow both the Government and the private sector to develop this prime land, create jobs and create more wealth for the city, Morobe Province, and the nation as a whole.

[PIR editor’s note: Lae is the second largest city on Papua New Guinea after the national capital. It is the provincial capital of Morobe province, located on the central north coast of Papua New Guinea’s mainland peninsula.]

There has been far too much politics over the old airport land. Both the Morobe Provincial Government and the National Government have been slow in moving to have the land developed.

The people of Lae have waited long enough. It is time to develop it. The city is running out of land for new industries, which are so badly needed in the centre that has always been hailed as the industrial hub of the nation.

Over the last 20 years, Lae has lost a lot of businesses. Many companies, which contributed significantly to employment in the city have closed their operations and left the country or moved to other locations in PNG.

Rising crime has brought the city to its knees. Migration from other provinces has created a huge unemployment problem for Lae. This has resulted in the high level of crime in the city.

We offer our thanks to investors, who have shown courage in setting up new operations in Lae. They are helping to create new jobs and stimulating economic growth for the capital city of Morobe.

But more investors must come. The city needs more industries.

All this can happen if the prime airport land is subdivided and allocated to reputable investors with genuine business interests.

This is why it is important for authorities such as the provincial land board; the provincial and national departments of lands to ensure unscrupulous individuals do not have access to any portion of this land.

Much of the Lae land has been illegally and corruptly given to people without them going through the normal process. This practice must not be allowed to be repeated with the prime airport land.

It will not happen if authorities ensure due process is followed.

The onus is on Morobe Provincial Government and its officials to stand firm against undue pressure from people whose interest is to claim the land for themselves.

The city needs genuine investors, both overseas and local. Now is the time to clear the grass and bring in development.

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