PM AND FINANCE MINISTER MEET VISITING DELEGATIONS FROM WORLD BANK AND ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

Fiji is poised to receive substantial access to finance facilities and technical assistance from both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) after senior delegations from both institutions held meetings in Suva today with both the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, and the Attorney General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. The ADB delegation also met with the Minister for Infrastructure, Pio Tikoduadua.

Among the visitors is the ADB’s Vice President, Stephen Groff, who is responsible for the Bank’s operations across East Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific. A separate mission from the World Bank is being led by the Bank’s Country Director for several Pacific nations including Fiji, Franz Drees-Gross.

The Prime Minister said he was delighted to welcome the first high-level delegations from both institutions for some time. “Our talks were very friendly and fruitful. Both Banks recognise not only our successful return to parliamentary rule but our emphasis on service delivery and better infrastructure for the Fijian people. They are keen to assist in strengthening our institutions and to improve our ability to provide such things as roads, jetties, drinking water and sanitation and give Fijians better access to markets,” he said.

After his talks with both delegations, the Attorney General and Finance Minister also said there were now new avenues for partnership and both banks were keen to be part of Fiji’s future development. “The World Bank is here to discuss assisting us with our reforms to the Civil Service, which are a vital part of our reform program for the next four years. There are clear opportunities for the Bank to assist us improve service delivery by helping us to streamline the Civil Service and make it more efficient and responsive,” he said.

The Minister said both Banks had expressed their satisfaction with the management of the Fijian economy, the healthy levels of growth and the outlook for the future. “We have seen annual growth above four per cent and we naturally want that to continue. Both the World Bank and the ADB are keen to assist us and that is a great vote of confidence in the Fijian economy,” he said.

The Minister said the visit by the two delegations had come close on the heel of the recent highly successful meeting between the Prime Minister, his cabinet and Fiji’s development partners. “All parties are especially pleased with our intention to formulate a development plan for the next five years to guide us forward. We intend to have that plan in place by the end of the first quarter of next year,” the Minister added.

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