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Thursday, 31 January 2019

PM gets green light for rural electrification plan

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has received correspondence to progress with the K5.2 billion (US$1.6bil) rural electrification programme signed by five Apec economies in November.

O’Neill said the implementation of the project would start in Tsak Valley, Enga and proceed to Usino-Bundi in Madang.

“This project is going to transform our country in the coming years,” he said.

“PNG, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Japan have made a firm commitment to fund up to US$1.6 billion to ensure that there is electricity available to Papua New Guinean families up to 70 per cent or more by 2030.

“That work will start this year and I have received correspondence and I had discussions with the Australian government and correspondence from the US government and commitments from New Zealand.”

O’Neill said they were now mobilising funds to start the programme and would work with government agencies and state enterprises and the minister for energy will take charge of the project.

He said they would start implementation in a few weeks. The first lot will be to Tsak Valley in Wapenamanda, Enga, connecting 5000 houses funded by the New Zealand government. “This project will connect 5000 families for the first time to access electricity,” he said.

“We are going to Usino-Bundi to start launching to participate in this programme. Our aim is to get electricity to 70 per cent of the population by 2030.
“The PNG government has allocated about K30 million in the 2019 budget for this project. I urge all our members, especially the remotest and rural electorates, please communicate with the energy minister and PNG Power so you can fully participate.”

O’Neill refuted claims by East Sepik Governor Allan Bird that the project was being pushed to PNG due to geo-politics.

Source: The National PNG

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