SUNBIZ

$426.64M Loan For COVID-19 Relief

Fijian Government and Asian Development Bank sign third phase of loan agreement which brings to $597.29 million the total value of loan from ADB.
14 Aug 2020 12:20
$426.64M Loan For COVID-19 Relief
From left: Asian Development Bank’s South Pacific subregional regional Director, Masayuki Tachiiri, with Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on August 13, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday signed a loan agreement of US$200 million (FJ$426.64 million) from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The agreement marks the third phase of the loan agreement, and brings to US$280 million (FJ$597.29 million) the value of Fiji’s loan from ADB.

ADB’s South Pacific subregional regional Director, Masayuki Tachiiri, said ADB was pleased to support the Fijian Government with the budget support sustained reform programme to help the country rebound from the COVID-19 crisis.

“This assistance is a third phase of the programme since 2017, to help create a more conducive environment for the private and business sector,” Mr Tachiiri said.

Conditions

The repayment of the loan is 15 years, he said.

“It also supports the reforms to include public finance management and strengthen the performance of State-owned enterprises.”

He hailed the Government for strides it took to achieve a strong reforms.

“We also thank the partners including New Zealand and Australia with their grant funding and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which brought together loans together with ADB’s programme,” Mr Taichiiri said.

AIIB and the World Bank are also partners in the agreement, he said.

“This is a mixture of their grants and also concessional loans, and we consistently support policy reforms led by the government,” Mr Taichiiri said.

The programmes are a part of the broad partnership between ADB and the Fijian Government, and to support the long term economic development, as well as a short term response to the COVID-19 crisis, he said.

“Our response includes this budget support, like this programme, and also infrastructure investment, as well as the disaster management, including COVID-19 response,” Mr Tachiiri said.

“We are sure that ADB stands ready for pilot support to the Fijian Government and also the people for the long term development, as well as a relief for the COVID-19.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the number of reforms carried out included investment in the environment sector and fiscal management area.

“This has been a good partnership and we’d like to thank them for the funding.

“It will help us in respect of getting the much needed funding, particularly in propping up our foreign reserves and also improving liquidity within the system.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said ADB also provided technical assistance to Fiji Ports Corporation Limited.

He said they were looking at the viability and relocation of ports to build greater synergies within the city, and be able to provide a more conducive environment for the marine industry.

Tourism

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said hotels operating did not necessarily mean that all hotels were running on a sustainable basis.

Most of the opened tourism destinations were busy on weekends, and not necessarily during weekdays, he said.

He impressed upon the need for every individual to download the Care FIJI app to avoid the worst case scenario of a lockdown.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the app was critical to the recovery of the tourism sector.

The ADB had given US$15 million (FJ$ 31.99 million) in the first phase of the agreement, and $65 million (FJ$138.66million) in the second phase.

In another development, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting which was held virtually over two days this week, was about different countries sharing their own specificities.

The meeting shared experiences of economies by way of reactions to COVID-19 challenges and how each coordinated responses.

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj

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