12 Dec 2006

Tonga ponders fund to restore Nuku'alofa business centre

5:58 pm on 12 December 2006

The Tonga cabinet is considering a specially-established fund to finance the restoration of the business centre of Nuku'Alofa.

The Nuku'alofa structural planning committee, chaired by the prime minister, has the lead role in developing a vision for a new city centre.

The minister of finance, Siosiua 'Utoikamanu, says the idea is to seek a lead lender among Tonga's development partners to provide soft loans support for the reconstruction.

Radio Tonga says as part of that a multi-donor mission is meeting today in Tonga.

It is hoped that the funding will be supplemented by technical assistance for business borrowers, backstop loans for business recovery, and an overall package of needs-based assistance for businesses needing to borrow to restore their businesses and build them up stronger than ever.

According to the minister, there's a humanitarian need to build better than before- and to apply better building standards to protect people against the spread of fire and collapse of buildings.