DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER PRESS RELEASE
SUBJECT: MONEYAU VILLAGE POWERED UP UNDER BULOLO DISTRICT RURAL ELECTRIFICATION PROGRAM
An overdue 2012 power supply program which was stalled due to PNG Power Limited’s shortages of MSK Units and easy pay power meters saw the supply finally delivered last Friday when the Bulolo District Management Team went into action to install power supplies into 31 new houses in Moneyau Village, Buang LLG on Sunday 19th January 2014.
In spite of the delays encountered in implementing this program, the 31 families in this remote village will now have access to power supply to equalizing their living standards with their fellow Papua New Guineans living in urban centers.
Mr Basil said the villagers that are now receiving basic services back home are now living more comfortably within their rural settings than people living in urban settlements in Papua New Guinea.
In settlements there is no land for gardening or for settlers to engage themselves in small scale business activities while law and order situation drives fear into everyone and without any formal employment life is unimaginable.
In the villages which are now benefiting from the rural electrification programs, power rates are at rural rates while water which is gravity fed is free of charge.The people in the villages can now engage themselves in cash cropping and other small scale businesses activities to sustain their livelihood.
Mr. Basil urged the people in his electorate who have already benefited from the rural electrification program to engage themselves in small scale businesses activities and improve their life style.
We need a small office services such as a small businesses with computers and printers who can write and print letters, a small internet café using digicel or vsat internet access that business can be operated from homes.
There is also a need for boiler makers to return home with their wielding machines to provide wielding services such as house posts, repairs to vehicle frames and other associated services.
Trade stores in the villages are now equipped with drink chillers and deep freezers and are selling ice cream, cold drinks, ice blocks, store fresh meat and other cold products.The village people are currently enjoying what people in major urban centers would normally enjoy and it is happening here in the remote rural villages.
The income of the villagers which boosts the spending power and increases cashflow in the area comes from the proceeds of cash crops, markets, visiting relatives for holidays from urban areas, PMV businesses and small village organizations like the churches and various village groups.
Mr. Basil said the government must invest more money into the rural areas to supply the basic needs of existing urban areas for example Bulolo District and the other 8 district can use Lae as their selling point.
In Lae, PNGPL and business houses equipped with back up power generators are paying hefty fuel bills that runs into hundreds of millions of kina which benefit the fuel retailers with marginal financial returns but the bulk of the proceeds are remitted back to the Singapore refinery company that sells bulk fuel.
These millions of kina can be re-directed back into the 8 districts of Morobe Province if the government can make these districts generate hydro power and sell power back into the Lae-grid through the hydro power programs.
Because the government cannot spend much money on such programs, there are investors who are willing to spend money to create hydro power in partnership with the local people. The government must create an environment which is condusive to attract investors through the provision of appropriate tax incentives.The cost of building a hydro power station stands at K10m per megawatt and the government doesn’t have to spend a toea at all.
Another potential area of investment in Morobe Province lies in limestone minning and quarrying. If fully exploited by investors and well regulated by the Government, the cement factory in Lae can include a furnace to burn local limestone for cement production. This will bring cash back into the villages instead of importation of limestone from overseas just for packaging and labelling in Lae city.
The same goes to limestone products that are used by Morobe Mining Joint Venture to process their gold in Hidden Valley and the chicken feed factories which also use lime as a supplementary for chicken feed.
Since independence successive Governments have not paid attention to improving the livelihood of the rural people through the implementation of viable programs and projects as such while allowing billions of kina to pass through offshore transactions for goods and services that can be provided locally if we look hard enough.
According to Mr. Basil, the powering of the village houses and shifting of business opportunities into rural communities in his District in basically intended to discourage rural-urban migration, attract people in urban centers to return home and also to encourage and promote equal participation by rural people in all aspects of development so that we can see PNG developing from all corners as anticipated by our visionary fore-fathers when they took us on the road to independence some 38 years ago.
Political leaders of today must remind themselves that the bulk of the 7.5 million people this country still live in the rural areas of PNG and sustain their livelihood through subsistence farming and cash cropping and they must not be forgotten.
Mr. Basil thanked PNG Power Limited for a job well done and had requested for continued support to this program under the rural electrification program and asked the Government to support PNG Power Limited and its Management in whatever ways they can to facilitate service delivery to the people because PNG Power Limited holds the key to PNG’s overall progress and prosperity.
When delivering the power supply to the people of Moneyau Village, the service oriented Member for Bulolo has appealed to his people to take ownership of the services made available to them and make the best use of the same for their own benefits. We have fought all odds to deliver such services to your door steps and it becomes your responsibilities as recipients to to look after it and benefit from the same. Mr, Basil concluded.
Mr. SAM BASIL, Bulolo MP Deputy Opposition Leader
19th January 2014.