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Two new bridges for Bana District

The Bana District in South Bougainville will be the recipient of two new bridges for the Pagara and Tavera Rivers under Bougainville President Ishmael Toroama’s High Impact Projects program.

President Toroama made this announcement on Thursday during the opening of the Polanawia Health Center in the Bolave Constituency.

President Toroama said the bridge project is being rolled out in collaboration with the Australian Government through their Transport Sector Program.

Initially, the Office of the President and the ABG Department of Technical Services had conducted a scoping exercise on the rivers in South Bougainville in 2022.

Following the scoping the Office of the President identified Pagara and Tavera as the two rivers that needed immediate construction of bridges.

Budget submissions were done by the Office of the President in 2022 and the Tavera River was allocated a funding of K15 million in the 2023 ABG Budget for the construction of the bridge.

This year following a meeting between President Toroama and then Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Jon Philp, the Australian Government made a commitment to construct the bridges for the Tavera and Pagara rivers in Bana District.

President Toroama revealed that procurement for the bridge for Tavera River had already begun with the materials in Kieta Wharf awaiting a contractor to be engaged to construct it with the Pagara project to follow suit this year.

“The K15 million for the bridge has now become redundant so it was reprioritised to cater for other projects that were not captured in the 2023 Bougainville Budget,” President Toroama said.

“However, the reprioritisation has since stalled due to interference by our National MPs who seek to control Bougainville’s funds from the National Government,” the President added.

The President veered from the issue of the funding diversion by the National Government saying it was a matter that will be handled by the Joint Supervisory Body.

The President told the people of Bana District that despite his Government’s priorities in independence readiness at the political level and funding constraints, he was committed to infrastructure development throughout Bougainville.

He said the transport sector is a key element of bringing development to Bana District and South Bougainville as a whole.

He added that the two new bridges will improve the social and economic sectors tenfold on Bougainville in general.

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