September 21, 2012

Chinese agreement to help boost Northern economy

The Jet Newspaper

A MAJOR concessional loan agreement amounting to more than $200m for the construction of a 70 km road stretching between Nabouwalu-Dreketi was signed today between the Fijian Government and the EXIM Bank of China.

Three agreements were signed today coinciding with the visit of one of the highest level official from China, His Excellency Wu Bangguo, who arrived last night for a three-day visit.

Permanent Secretary for Finance, Mr Filimoni Waqabaca, and Vice President of the China EXIM Bank, Mr Mr Zhu Hongjie signed the agreement for the concessional loan project for the road in the Northern division that is being foreseen as the impetus to economic development in that part of the country.

"We are thankful to China because the loans that we have taken are on concessional rate meaning that they are at very low rate compared to what we would have incurred if we would have taken loans from elsewhere to finance our projects," Mr Waqabaca said.

"These loans are concessional in the sense it is about two per cent interest we pay on them and there are other terms and conditions but one attraction for us is the concessional nature of the loan."

He said this stretch of the road will be a major boost for the Northern economy as after the road they will be looking at constructing an international port in the North.

The two other agreements signed were by permanent secretary in the Prime Minister's Office, Mr Pio Tikoduadua and the Vice Minister for Commerce of the People's Republic of China, Mr Li Jinzao.

The two agreements were: 'Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation' and 'Framework Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Fiji and the Government of the People's Republic of China on Provision of Concessional Loan by China to Fiji'.

However, Mr Tikoduadua said the major achievement was the loan for the Dreketi-Nabouwalu road project.

He said that the visit by HE Wu to Fiji was indicative of the growing ties as Fiji was the only country in the South Pacific to be part of his tour that included several other countries from other parts of the world.

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