File photo: Agencies
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday said it has approved a 200-million-U.S. dollar (430 million Fijian dollars) policy-based loan to boost investment in Fiji"s private sector to help the country"s economy cope with and rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Manila-based bank said the loan will help create a more conducive environment for private investment and business owners. It will also support reforms to improve the management of public finances and strengthen the performance of state-owned enterprises, which will benefit the private sector.
The ADB said the assistance is the third phase of a program developed in partnership with the governments of Australia and New Zealand, the World Bank Group, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
It said financial and technical support for the program was provided by ADB, the governments of Australia and New Zealand, the World Bank Group, and the International Monetary Fund"s Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre.
The ADB said the program supports reforms that will help Fiji"s tourism-dependent economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build resilience to future economic and fiscal shocks. Reforms include strengthening investor rights and streamlining the investment approval process, the bank said.
According to the ADB, access to finance will be improved through the activation of the ADB-supported Personal Property Securities Registry, which makes it easier for people to secure loans to start or grow a business using moveable assets.
The ADB said this reform will particularly benefit women who are unlikely to have fixed assets such as land. Simplifying the application process for construction permits will also improve the country"s ease of doing business process, it added.