18 Dec 2007

Tonga government makes use of New Zealand and Australian grants

5:14 pm on 18 December 2007

The owners of businesses in the Tonga capital, Nuku'alofa, which were destroyed during last year's riots, will now be able to access low cost rebuilding loans.

This has been made possible with a grant of just over seven million US dollars from New Zealand and Australia.

The Tonga Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, says assistance from overseas was necessary because many of the local businesses could not get their insurance companies to pay out.

He says it is the government's role to assist and that is what it is doing, aided by the donors' support.

"It's a way also of accelerating the reconstruction of Nuku'alofa and for government as well get the economy moving, it also relies on taxes and duties so that the sooner the businesses get back into business the better."

The Prime Minister says the businesses will also have access to funds from a loan from China.