As part of the 2012 Alotau Accord, the O’Neill Government agreed to establish an Infrastructure Development Authority to ‘take ownership’ of Cabinet decisions and oversee major infrastructure projects in Papua New Guinea. Business Advantage PNG spoke recently to the authority’s interim Managing Director, John Kaio.
Business Advantage PNG (BAPNG): What role will the Authority play in helping ensure infrastructure projects in which the government participates are delivered in an appropriate way?
John Kaio (JK): The authority is concerned with good governance, accountability and value for money. It will oversee the procurement and implementation of projects, via public tender, valued at K50 million or more; it will ensure the delivery of those projects efficiently and effectively; and it will ensure that decisions about strategic infrastructure projects are based on expert professional analysis and advice.
It is important to understand that the authority will not deliver projects but oversee how they are carried out, on behalf of the National Executive Council.
The authority will be based in the Prime Minister’s Department, reporting to the Chief Secretary.
BAPNG: Why is there a need for an Infrastructure Development Authority?
JK: Stakeholders have acknowledged that a number of recent infrastructure projects have not delivered the outcomes required by Government, in part because there has been no oversight by an IDA-type organisation.
BAPNG: Which sector projects will you oversee?
JK: Infrastructure for the purposes of the IDA includes telecommunications, transport, water, power, education and health. In fact, our definition of ‘infrastructure’ is the same as that contained in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Bill, which Parliament passed in September.
So, we will oversee the design, construction, development, financing and delivery of new infrastructure projects and the rehabilitation, modernisation or expansion of existing infrastructure projects.
BAPNG: If you see a project that isn’t being run properly, will you be able to step in?
JK: We will help the particular agency to deliver the project. But if they are running behind time, or if there are cost variations, we would like to step in.
BAPNG: When do you expect the authority to be fully functioning?
JK: We have done the statutory consultations, with government agencies. We have also had a lot of input and advice from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), AusAid, the World Bank, JICAC.
A draft bill is currently before the Chief Secretary, and then that bill will go to Cabinet.
John Kaio was interviewed by Business Advantage PNG’s Andrew Wilkins at September’s 2014 Papua New Guinea Advantage Investment and infrastructure Summit in Port Moresby.
This article was kindly provided by www.businessadvantagepng.com