Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says Southern Highlands and Hela have been producing oil and gas for Papua New Guinea since 1990, however, have not seen the Mendi-Tari section of the Highlands Highway being sealed.

An emotional PM Marape recalled one time in 2013 when his daughter, while they were driving this road, bluntly told him: ‘Daddy, you are Finance Minister and you haven’t fixed this road yet’.

“That’s the cry of many daughters and sons, from Kopiago all the way to Kaupena, where oil and gas flows out to sustain the country.

“So today, even if the rain comes down, I’m willing to stand in the rain to ensure that this project gets off the ground.”

The Prime Minister said this in Mendi on Thursday (January 27 2022) when doing groundbreaking for sealing of the Mendi-Tari Road at a cost of K300 million to be carried out over the next five years.

Construct Oceanic is working from Mendi Towards Margarima while Ipwenz Construction is working from Margarima to Ambua (outside Tari).

PM Marape said the two provinces, when they were one under Southern Highlands, “had carried the economy of the country since 1990 through Hides gas, Kutubu and Gobe oil fields”.

“Today, the road from Poroma to Kutubu, 103km, is unsealed,” he said.

“In 2015, I had to go and ask landowners at Hides to reopen the PNG LNG Project, after they shut it down because of no sealed road to Komo.

“This section (Mendi) to Hides Gas is unsealed.

“We have started to work on these over the last two years because the need and demand is there.

“It (Mendi-Tari) is a road that is necessitated by the (PNG LNG) project, and to give value and a token of appreciation, to the Hela and Southern Highlands people who’ve been good custodians of the projects that continue to bless our country.

“I thank the people for their patience for the last 30 years since oil and gas started flowing.

“I am very pleased to be here today to launch something that is very close to my heart.”

PM Marape appealed to the people living along the road, crucial for delivery of goods and services, not to cause trouble for users.