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By Harlyne Joku

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 13) - PNG Gardener has been awarded a PGK7 million [US$2.6 million] contract by the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) to clean up and beautify Port Moresby.

NCDC Governor Powes Parkop said the contract was awarded on merit and expressed confidence that the company would be able to accomplish the task.

"I know that (owner) Justin (Tkatchenko) can do the job; he has the ability and experience to do so," Mr. Parkop told a press conference yesterday.

He added that "everyone knew Justin’s ability to beautify and make a difference for the benefit of city residents as he had associated with the appearance of the city and the Port Moresby Botanical Gardens in the late 90s."

Early this year, then governor Wari Vele awarded PNG Gardener a PGK10 million [US$3.7 million] contract, causing many to question the move. Parkop said that the award was made for political reasons but this time, "it was by merit."

He said the contract was reduced to PGK7 million after a review and Mr. Tkatchenko had "generously agreed" to it.

Tkatchenko said he would finish off what he first pursued in beautifying Port Moresby and left incomplete in 1999. He said his task would be to involve genuine woman, youth and church groups in cleaning contracts in the city.

His second objective is to redevelop and maintain public parks and gardens in areas such as the airport and Ela Beach. He would recommend to the NCDC to designate certain areas of the city especially for betel nut vendors and to provide rubbish bins to stop littering.

The three-year contract between NCDC and PNG Gardener takes effect on January 1 next year and will be reviewed after the first year.

A letter from Treasury and Finance Minister Patrick Pruaitch to Parkop on October 15 confirmed the arrangement under Section 61 of the Public Finances Management Act.

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