BRYAN KRAMER | Kramer Report.
PORT MORESBY - While members of the police force have received much lip service over the years to address on-going housing issues, this will be a priority issue under the new Marape-Steven government.
My office has already commenced discussions with Anthony Smare, chairman of Papua New Guinea’s largest superannuation fund, Namabwan Super, on developing a strategy in partnership
Mr Smare explained that Namabawan Super has plans to build 3,000 plus houses at 9 Mile in Port Moresby, a project I hope the government will buy into, providing over 1,000 houses to members of the police force and their families.
In addition to the government housing component, we also discussed establishing a police home ownership scheme where officers who have served 10-15 years will qualify for home ownership at cost.
There is no point in the government providing police housing only to kick retired officers on to the street without any recognition of their service to the country.
Last week I took the initiative to contact the Red Sea Company, which was contracted to build 150 police houses at Bomana in 2015. This project cost K52 million and to-date remains incomplete on account of the previous government's failure to meet its financial obligations.
K40 million is still owed and the contractor has yet to connect power, water and sewerage. Furthermore, the houses are still to be furnished.
We will also look at corporate tax credit schemes to start building police housing around the country.
On 8 July, I will be officiating at the opening of Gusap Police Housing Project in Ramu, funded by New Britain Palm Oil Ltd under a tax credit scheme.
The company built 14 3-bedroom houses, two 12-single men’s quarters, an administration building, an armoury, a helipad and back-up power at a total cost of just K4.6 million.
My office will be looking at duplicating similar projects in other provinces as well as upgrading existing police houses that are in disrepair.
While it will be a priority of the Marape Steven government to improve the welfare of our more than 7,000 police force members, they will be expected to clean up their act in providing services to the community and country or be terminated.