21 Aug 2018

Debt relief requests embarrassing - Samoa PM

8:45 am on 21 August 2018

It is embarrassing that Pacific countries want outstanding loans written off, Samoa's Prime Minister and chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says.

Samoa PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Samoa PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi Photo: RNZ Pacific /Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Tongan Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva made the suggestion in an interview with Samoa Observer at the recent Forum Foreign Ministers meeting at Taumeasina Island Resort in Apia.

Tuilaepa said, last week, that the idea was not new but it had consequences that would impact on future low interest loans from bigger countries.

Asking for loans to be written off would also paint a bad picture of a country, he said.

This issue had always been one of the topics discussed at forums like the Commonwealth Heads of Government and at the United Nations, Tuilaepa said.

"And the problem with raising this issue continuously is the bigger countries become reluctant to give loans with low interests because this is what will happen, a loan is granted on a low interest rate yet in five years' time a request is made to write it off. That is embarrassing.

"You can't sign off on a loan for development and then ask to forgive the loans," he said.