DOW plans for next 5 years
BY GORETHY KENNETH
The Works Department has a number of strategic aspirations for the next five years and beyond as the government makes its progress towards becoming a best-practice asset manager of the national road network.
Secretary David Wereh told a development partners’ forum this week that one of their priorities will be to roll out long-term output-based maintenance and rehabilitation partnerships with private sector companies and joint ventures in the road industry.
Mr Wereh said this is based on the success of the long-term maintenance contract model.
“I have grouped them into five themes – Putting “Maintenance First Policy” on a sound footing at the heart of planning, prioritisation and economic decision making,” he said.
“We must guarantee annual routine maintenance funds for all road sections. This policy direction must be shared by decision makers and clearly communicated to the public.
“Publishing a PNG Road Strategy as a public ‘blueprint’ document, in collaboration with NRA (National Road Authority), which will be a clear narrative and a vision for the road sector with guiding principles for prioritisation that align with national priorities.
“Progressing with the nationwide road re-classification exercise, coupled with the systematic delegation of funding management and maintenance responsibilities. Continuing to draft or update national roads and building standards to be managed under a reformed and strengthened infrastructure organisational arrangement.
“One of the plans is that it must be of increasing concern to those who understand economic fundamentals, that the country cannot afford to continue building or sealing non-priority roads in place of maintaining the priority road network that we already have,” he said.
“On the second plan, we have a clear obligation to inform key stakeholders of the level of support needed. The opportunity costs of not funding prioritised maintenance annually can now be transparently quantified, and must be a consideration in the national decision-making process.
The PNG Road Strategy is currently under preparation within DoW, with wide consultation to be held; the target is to share the document in the third quarter of this year.
Mr Wereh said that this was the next step in the vision to ensure that resources are allocated strategically, and that the true cost of neglect and underfunding is understood.