National Executive Council has approved the adoption of immigration and customs processes for the K700-million Lae port project.
NEC’s decision means the Lae port project will go ahead under the procedures laid down for the PNG LNG project at the Department of Labor and Industry and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
“This is a critical project for the Momase and Highlands regions, and by applying a similar process approved for PNG LNG, we can cut red tape and fast-track work,” Minister for Public Enterprises Sir Mekere Morauta said.
“The arrangement will cover both the construction supervision consultant, Korean Engineering Consultant Corporation, and the civil works contractor, China Harbor Engineering Company.”
NEC also approved an extension of the temporary importation period from 12 months to 30 months for China Harbor Engineering’s construction equipment.
This means that equipment brought in temporarily under duty-free arrangements can remain in PNG for the full three years of construction.
Sir Mekere said NEC’s decision recognised that the project was of special significance both nationally and within the Highlands and Momase regions.
“Congestion and inefficiencies at the existing Lae waterfront have increased costs across the region and nationally, and have been an impediment to economic growth and national development,” he said.
“The project - including a tidal basin, a berth and a terminal – will help to lower import costs and therefore the price of goods and services.
“It will also help to increase the competitiveness of Momase-Highlands exports to the rest of Papua New Guinea and overseas.”
Work on the project, funded 70% by the Asian Development Bank and 30% by the national government, is expected to finish towards the end of 2015.