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Kikori Delta in PNG set for development

Great plans are ahead to convert the Kikori delta in Papua New Guinea into a free economic zone, and this includes the construction of a 100 room hotel.
Local Member for Kikori and Minister for Community Development Soroi Eoe said in partnership with the PNG Government, the district development authority, investor YuEm Boss Limited and the landowners, they would develop the delta to create the free trade zone, a model that is similar to that in China.
The proposed economic zone would include infrastructure, schools, health facilities, economic growth centres like hotels and accommodation.
Mr Eoe said for too long the people of Kikori have been misusing millions of kina from the Kutubu oil project, the PNG LNG project and timber royalties. The upcoming Papuan LNG would bring more benefits that under his leadership he wanted to see the funds translated into sustainable benefits and investments for the future.
He said similarly the landowners have been missing out on a lot of money from LNG, oil and logging operations.
He said in line with his DDA’s plans, he is in support of YuEm Boss Limited to invest in the district including the K15 million, 100 rooms hotel and ecotourism industry to create opportunities and empower the people, a long term investment that would change the landscape of the district.
He said he is in full support of the investment decision by the Kikori sub district resource association led by chairman Peter Keisa Iari and chief executive officer of YuEm Boss Limited Danny Linny.
He said over the next five years they will focus on the free trade economic zone, the development of the deep water port and the construction of the LNG processing facility in the province.
Mr Linny said he wants to include the landowners in all development initiatives in the district, as he wanted them to take ownership and empower them in the long run.
He said a team will visit China and see how similar free trade zones are established and function so that they can duplicate the idea or improve on it.
He said Kikori has the potential to become an important trading zone that would be supported by the government’s plans to develop the deep water port, the Gulf Southern Highlands highway connecting all the five highlands provinces, the huge logging projects and the second LNG project.
Mr Linny said building the 100 room hotel is only the beginning of many projects his company wanted to partner with as many landowner groups and governments.
He said they, the landowners, will use their royalties, equities development levies to invest in infrastructure like water, electricity, schools, office spaces, airport, jetties and fisheries, processing and exporting them, and also leasing them to investors, governments and business people both within and abroad.
“We plan to invite investors, and during the APEC meeting this year, we will have a lot of business people so we will promote Kikori, and that is an opportunity to encourage more investment. However, we need more land and more investors as we would provide the infrastructure and that is how we will promote our plans for free trade zone in Kikori,” he said.
His said his company engineers will go to Kikori and assess and plan or design the free trade economic zone soon, but the first project his company would initiate would be to complete the incomplete housing projects in Kikori by March this year, and then the 100 rooms hotel project.
“We want to support the development plans of the KDDA and also of the people,” Mr Linny said.
The people of Kikori have openly welcomed the K15 million hotel and ecotourism development in the Kikori Delta as it would create more employment, a resource landowner said.
“The proposed hotel and ecotourism investment is a massive investment in the area as it would create opportunities for the people as we have fought for years to have such investments,” he said.
In welcoming and in support of the Chinese investor to the district, Mr Iapi said the hotel investment is a game changer for the province and the district after years of missing out.
“This first of its kind project will bring employment and tourism to the people of Kikori, who claim to have suffered for years due to poor services.
This is despite tons of oil flowing over the last 20 years, the project that would change the lives of the people as benefits would come with it in doubles.
The proposed hotel would cater for hundreds of Oil Search and PNG LNG workers, who continue to move in and out of the area, and other investors in the oil and gas, forestry and other major economic activities in the area.
He added that Kikori would soon become the hub of business when the Kikori- Southern Highlands highway and the Paim Port development comes into operation, as planned by the National Government and the Hela and Southern Highlands provincial governments.
This follows an agreement signed between the YuEm Boss Limited and the Kikori sub district recourse owners association incorporation. Post Courier/Press Release
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