The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank’s billion-dollar portfolio of projects in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has delivered exceptional results in 2018, a conference of government, private sector, and development partners heard.
The ADB Year in Review was told the portfolio of 18 projects—in areas such as transport infrastructure, maritime safety, civil aviation, climate resilience, and access to finance, and featuring grants worth about $1.58 billion—had distinguished itself, with project and compliance ratings both up.
The PNG Rural Primary Health Services Delivery Project, which is supported by the governments of Australia and PNG and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development, is developing national health policies, facilitating sustainable partnerships between provincial governments and non-state actors and upgrading rural health facilities. In 2018, it had established and handed over 19 community health posts (CHPs) to the provinces.
The CHPs were all built according to national health standards and are already providing health services, including 212 births between 2016 and 2018. Another notable achievement of the project was the roll-out of a digital health information system across 8 provinces and the National Capital District (NCD), enabling real-time public health data collection and information for decision making
2018 was also a very productive year for the Civil Aviation Development Investment Program, which is improving 20 national airports and providing safer and more secure air transport services. Nine civil works packages were procured, and various goods and services contracts were processed and completed. PNRM disbursed over $60 million and awarded contracts worth over $100 million. This was a record high and the best performance in any single year during the life of the investment program to date.
The Sustainable Highlands Highway Investment Program responds to the government’s national development and transport strategies, which aimed to rehabilitate, upgrade, and sustainably maintain 430 kilometers of the Highlands Highway, had some notable achievements this year. Six contracts worth $210 million were recently awarded, with construction to begin in early 2019.
The PNG Microfinance Expansion Project, cofinanced by ADB and the governments of Australia and PNG, trained 11,500 people in financial literacy, 49% of them women. Additionally, some 6,200 people were trained in business development skills, 51% of them women.
The Highlands Region Road Improvement Investment Program is improving accessibility and reducing transport costs in the Highlands region. In 2018, the Kotna–Lampramp and Ialibu–Kagua subprojects were completed and the upgraded roads are now being used by the public. Travel times have been significantly reduced and connectivity to market, health, and education facilities is improved.
The Private Sector Development Initiative is working with ADB’s 14 Pacific Developing Member Countries to improve the business environment, and to support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth. It is cofinanced by the Government of Australia, the Government of New Zealand, and ADB. In 2018, PSDI supported a range of reforms in PNG, including improving the reliability and security of PNG’s Companies Registry from 69% to 100% uptime by using cloud technologies.
The ADB PSDI team helped deliver PNG’s first National Competition Policy—a definitive policy statement on the government’s commitment to competition principles. PSDI also secured an agreement with MiBank to proceed with an innovative Agri-finance project in East New Britain using moveable assets as loan security.