NEW PNG PROVINCE PINS HOPES ON GAS REVENUES

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Hela wants tangible development

By Isaac Nicholas PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Sept. 21, 2010) – Hela Transitional Authority chairman James Marape has recommended the HTA embrace the Hela long-term development plan to lock in gas revenue to realise the province’s development aspirations.

[PIR editor’s note: Hela in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands is due to become a new province in 2012. It is to include the districts of Tari-Pori, Komo-Magarima, and Koroba-Kopiago.]

Marape said the liquid natural gas (LNG) revenue must be locked in for development in line with the long-term plans and not controlled by politicians.

He said the next six months would be critical as HTA’s task was to have nationwide consultations with its people and stakeholders including the elite Hela working class, students, youths, churches, women and leaders on the long-term plan for Hela province.

The chairman of HTA and member for Tari-Pori said this when announcing that the HTA had passed a PGK23 million [US$8.5 million] budget to ensure infrastructure is in place for a full provincial status for Hela province by 2012.

The funds were allocated by the national government in this year’s budget for physical infrastructure and public service structure in preparation for the provincial status.

Marape said the appropriation was to put in place structures for a new province by 2012 and to ensure that the province gets maximum benefit from the LNG project and not squandering the wealth created from their gas.

The breakdown included K1 million to each for office rehabilitation in each of the three district offices, K200,000 each to the 16 local level governments (LLGs) for the setting up of LLG assemblies, K250,000 for a youth centre in Tari, K250,000 to the Hela council of churches, K250,000 to the council of women and K3 million for the construction of the HTA office complex in Tari.

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