SUVA, FIJI (11 September 2019) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $65 million policy-based loan to fund a program helping the Government of Fiji create an environment where the private sector can thrive and drive economic growth through investment.
“The Government of Fiji is implementing a comprehensive reform program, improving the management of public finances, strengthening the performance of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and opening up opportunities for private investment,” said ADB Principal Public Management Specialist for the Pacific Ms. Pamela Wyatt. “ADB is pleased to be able to support these reforms through technical assistance and this policy-based loan.”
Reforms supported through the Sustained Private Sector-Led Growth Reform Program include the drafting of the Public Enterprises Act 2019, which was passed by Fiji’s parliament in May 2019. The legislation will help strengthen SOEs’ governance, transparency, and accountability. Merit-based recruitment methods for SOE directors have also resulted in a near doubling of the percentage of female directors in one year.
To boost foreign investment and trade, new legislation on international arbitration has come into force, and the government is strengthening its policies on investment and competition, with support from development partners. To make it easier for mothers to enter and remain in the paid workforce, the government increased paid maternity leave and introduced paternity leave and family care leave, which became effective in January 2019.
The program supports ADB’s Strategy 2030 operational priority focused on strengthening governance and institutional capacity, particularly in small island developing states. It effectively mainstreams gender issues through policy actions that improve women’s access to services, opportunities, and decision-making.
The program supports the implementation of the government’s reform agenda and the National Development Plan. It was developed in partnership with the World Bank and the Government of New Zealand, which also provided budget support to Fiji. Program actions were achieved with technical assistance from ADB, cofinanced by the governments of Australia and New Zealand, and from the International Monetary Fund’s Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre and the World Bank Group.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.