3 May 2006

Marshall Islands public service review threatened by bad debts

7:46 am on 3 May 2006

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A big project to review the public service in the Marshall Islands could be under threat if the country is unable to meet its loan repayments to the Asian Development Bank.

The ADB is reviewing whether it will suspend its technical assistance programme to the Marshalls after the country was deemed delinquent for missing several repayments of ADB loans taken out in the 1990s.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says officials are requesting a reduction or a forgiveness of the loans which they claimed were flawed but the ADB is not expected to agree to this.

He says there is concern that the ADB will suspend their assistance.

"MARS TECH TP

IN: The ADB has the option of just saying no new loans or technical assistance, and there are several very important technical assistance projects in the pipeline, including a review of the entire public service, which a lot of people feel is very important to sorting out big problems in the government.

DUR: 19

Mr Johnson says a decision from the ADB is expected shortly.