Port Moresby, Lae, Mt Hagen and Kokopo Being Developed Into PNG Biggest Cities

PORT MORESBY - Port Moresby, Lae, Mt Hagen and Kokopo are being developed into PNG’s biggest and strategic cities that will capture and hold half of PNG’s population and spearhead development aspirations of the country, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday.

Goroka, Madang and Wewak will be second tier cities which will be next in line to receive the attention of the government.

The country’s future is being locked into the development of these cities and improvement of transport infrastructure throughout PNG, O’Neill said.

Port Moresby and Lae will retain their current status as the commercial and administration centre and the industrial hub respectively. Mt Hagen will become the agricultural city and Kokopo the tourism capital for the country under the plan.

The PM said these were necessary because despite all the would in the world, rural to urban drift would continue and will increase placing pressure on the limited services of cities and towns.

By 2020 he projects the population of Port Moresby to be more than a million people with 750,000 each  anticipated for Lae and Mt Hagen and a similar number for Kokopo.

O’Neill said by then half of the population of PNG would be residing in the four cities.

“As much as we want our people to live and remain in the rural areas, the opportunities are not there so our people will continue to move.”

“Every person has the right to enjoy the services that governments provide.

“To manage the population moving we need to build infrastructure and services to meet their demand. We need to plan our urban cities and our urban towns where the population is starting to shift.  We see POM, Lae and Hagen as cities that need to be developed.”

O’Neill said the Government’s challenge was to build infrastructure such as schools and tertiary institutions, enough infrastructure such as roads and ports and improve water, power and telecommunication services.

We must now invest over the next five to 1 years so that we capture the level of infrastructure that our population will need.

O’Neill said he was not just talking about it. He was mobilising men and resources towards achieving the goal. Amounts in hundreds of millions were being spent on roads improvement, on hospital infrastructure, on upgrading the University of PNG and University of Technology, on the Lae port and the Tokua Airport in East New Britain.

Tax concessions including fuel exemptions will be introduced and the Tokua Airport will be expanded to attracted tourism developers into Kokopo and to reduce airfares on international flights into Tokua.

O’Neill said all these will not be done at the expense of other provinces and towns which would enjoy the same level of allocations as they enjoyed presently and they would improve with increased budgets. [TheNational]
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