20 Nov 2007

Tonga and China formalise post-riot loan agreement

1:39 pm on 20 November 2007

The Tongan government has signed an agreement with the Chinese government for a 60 million US dollar loan to rebuild Nuku'alofa after last year's riot.

The deal was signed in Beijing by the Tongan finance minister, Siosiua Utoikamanu, and top Chinese officials.

Radio Tonga says the loan must be paid back within 20 years, with an annual interest rate of two percent.

Mr Utoikamanu says the repayment will be made in the Chinese renmimbi currency which may affect the terms of the loan.

He says the government has agreed with the head contractor that they will use as many Tongan labourers as possible and also look at sub-contractors creating jobs for Tongans.