Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Paias Wingti eyes China’s ‘Super Highway’ to connect Papua New Guinea

Former Prime Minister Paias Wingti has suggested that PNG put up its future mineral, oil and gas resources as collateral and invite China to build a network of ‘super highways’ to connect the country.

The Western Highlands Governor suggested that ‘we give five or 10 per cent of the mining resources that are going to come’ to China and ‘give it to them and tell them to open up this country’.

He said China, the emerging global superpower has the energy, drive, technology and funding under its ‘One Belt Policy’ to unite Papua New Guinea by connecting its fractured and fragmented road system.

Mr Wingti, a two time former Prime Minister, said: “The next resources, tie straight to opening our road projects, from West Sepik to Western Province, the road from Sandaun to East Sepik and to Madang, Lae has got to be built, Trans Island Highway to be built, the road from Madang to Hagen onto Kikori has to be built, we have to build that and how can you do that?

“It’s very simple – Prime Minister, just do a deal with them, give five or 10 per cent of the mining resources that are going to come, give it to them and tell them to open up this country.

“China is a country, you can’t beat China, they have to come on your terms but deal with China using the one belt policy, of the present President – he is changing Europe and its come this way, seize the moment and tie up with them and when they come for the APEC meeting, Prime Minister, do a deal with them.

“Because if you don’t do that, you know what is going to happen? Nothing will happen, we will still sit here and watch each other here, nothing will happen. I know you can do it Prime Minister, the government can do it.

“Opportunity comes once, and you seize the moment or loose that opportunity,” he said.
Mr Wingti, speaking during Grievance Debate in Parliament yesterday, suggested that former governments had lost the opportunity when times were good during the Kutubu years.

“The last 10 years, and I am not criticizing anyone, when the Chief was Prime Minister, you had this golden opportunity of huge money – but I was wondering why they didn’t tie that, when the resource was going to explode in Kutubu, should insist that the highway from Lae to Komo must be made before I signed that agreement – we missed that opportunity, of the Americans building us a superhighway. We missed that opportunity,” he said.

“Today the country has changed, the resource base is much bigger now, exhaustible resource base is much bigger and the budget is much, much bigger. At the end of the day you must realise what is the big picture for this country, so that in future the country is stable – education of our people, the next is health but next but the most important one is transportation and infrastructure in this country.

“When this is emerging, what do you do with the windfall of money – you see the system of bureaucracy is one but when the money comes in, the system itself eludes and somehow you don’t see the major opportunity of the resource that’s coming.

“Today Prime Minister, you see, fear itself is a fear that will make you not take the risk, you must take color-plated risk, if you don’t take risk, you will never change this country.
“Today, the tax regime is the best tax regime and the investors are making a lot of money Prime Minister, you compare that with Norway, Denmark and Indonesia so those train resources,” he said.

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