27 Mar 2008

Fiji set to get huge soft loan support from China

8:17 pm on 27 March 2008

Fiji is negotiating loans totalling more than 340 Million Fiji dollars - or 228 million US dollars - with China.

Seremaia Tuiteci, the development director in the office of the prime minister in Fiji, says the loans are made up of 170 million for rural roads, 15.6 million for water supply, 55.5 million for low cost housing, and 120 million for shipping infrastructure.

Mr Tuiteci says the loans are conditional on the developments being carried out as joint ventures between Fiji and Chinese companies.

He says loans have their origin in a 2006 agreement between the former government of Laisenia Qarase and the Chinese Government which set a ceiling of 600 million dollars in potential loans.

The first 50 million dollars is expected to be released by the Chinese Government next month for upgrading rural roads.

Mr Tuiteci says Fiji is following in the footsteps of Vanuatu and Tonga which have both already accessed large concessional loans from China.