PNG BUILDING BOOM LEAVES WORKERS IN COLD

Editorial

PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Feb. 26, 2010) - Building is the new game in town, in the main centres of Papua New Guinea.

In many places, it had seemed as if the post-war houses and offices would always remain the same until they collapsed because of termite action.

But the last year or two has seen a huge upsurge in building construction, especially in the National Capital District but also in some of the other major towns and cities.

Lae, while crying heedlessly for a major fix on its roads, has seen major buildings rising in recent times and now Madang has prospered with the lavish head office for the Ramu nickel venture and other developments, alongside the continually improving Divine Word University campus.

Kokopo has been on a steady building splurge for several years and it continues with new buildings along William Rd and a modern new hotel almost ready to go next to the historic Ralum club and based partly on the Queen Emma steps.

But it is in the National Capital District (NCD) that the boom has really resounded. Construction companies have their hands full with jobs and already there is a scarcity of skilled, experienced trade workers.

All of the current building boom consists of companies and individuals based here who have "taken a punt’’ on preparing for the gas project and its spinoff activities.

It ranges from the very active superannuation fund, Nasfund, and the Steamships empire turning away from retail towards property development, to many other companies with an eye to quick capital gains. Downtown Port Moresby has builders on the old Papua Hotel and Burns Philp sites plus the new high rise being built by Nasfund rival, Nambawan Super.

At the new real estate boom town, Harbour City, the reclaimed area of waterfront will be the new elite business and residential address for the lucky few who can afford it.

Elsewhere in the city, there are big and medium sized developments going on at Waigani, Boroko, Four-Mile, Gordons industrial and even in the less attractive suburbs.

The everlasting and depressing side of real estate is the lack of a major, grand vision plan for low to medium cost accommodation in our major centres.

This is the major dilemma for any government with a conscience about its people: How to house all of those employed in the towns and still leave them enough, after the rent, to live a decent life!

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