11 Jun 2008

PNG business people for more road tax if it is transparently used for maintenance

1:57 pm on 11 June 2008

Business people in Papua New Guinea will support new road levies if the money goes towards maintenance, as planned.

The Transport Minister Don Polye has directed the National Roads Authority to find a way to ensure there is sufficient funding for regular road maintenance work.

He says this could include additional fuel tax or a levy based on vehicle weight.

The President of the PNG Chamber of Commerce, Michael Mayberry, says the poor state of the roads is an ongoing economic cost for the country, particularly the continuing state of disrepair on the critical Highlands Highway.

He says the Chamber is supportive of maintenance levies in principle but the money cannot be siphoned off for other purposes as has happened before.

"We used to have a weigh bridge on the Highlands Highway and then the money wasn't, well, the allegation was that the money was not properly accounted for and then it fell in disarray and things like that. What we are saying is we need to come up with some solution to the chronic problem we face on the Highlands Highway over quite a lot of years."