Asian Development Bank

Tonga roads need to be maintained, ADB

The ADB contributed $US5 million to the Nuku'alofa improvement project.

An ADB report says there's doubt the Government recognised the importance of maintenance of the improved assets.

Matangi Tonga reports continual maintenance of the drainage system is considered essential by the design engineers so it could do its job during periods of heavy rainfall.

The report reveals that cancellation of plans and reallocation of funds had compromised the goals of the five-year project.

ADB grant to help improve Kiribati roading

It involved an upgrade and rehabilitation of the road network in South Tarawa.

The project was also being supported by the World Bank and the Government of Australia through the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility.

The ADB grant was to go to the construction of important road network links by adding an extra 7.8 kilometres of paved road and half a kilometre of unpaved road to cover additional areas in Betio and Bairiki linked to the current project.

Photo: Shifani Sood

Improved maritime facilities for Tuvalu outer islands

The Outer Island Maritime Infrastructure Project aims to construct a small harbour on the island of Nukulaelae, and rehabilitate boat ramps on Nanumaga and Niutao.

Most Tuvalu outer islands lack docking facilities for ocean-going ships making it more difficult to transfer passengers and cargo on workboats.

The Financial reported that the $US13.3 million project is geared to develop an overall plan for making shipping to and from the capital safer and more efficient.

ADB lays out Pacific poverty levels

RNZ reports the high cost of living means many people struggle to meet basic needs.

The ADB points out that there is also a lack of access to basic infrastructure, services and utilities and low levels of employment or income generating opportunities.

Of 14 Pacific countries the Marshall Islands population is the most poor, with just over half its people living below the national poverty line.

Tonga's closest neighbours, Fiji, has 31% of its population living below the poverty line and Samoa 26.9%.

Vanuatu has the lowest poverty statistics at 12.7%.

Commercial reforms needed to boost Pacific State - owned enterprises - ADB

Advance copies of Finding Balance 2016, the latest edition of ADB’s landmark assessment of Pacific SOEs’ performance, were shared at the Pacific Update Conference at the University of South Pacific, Fiji.

The report finds SOE portfolios in the eight Pacific countries examined contributed only 1.8% to 12% to gross domestic product, despite their very large asset base, ongoing government cash transfers, and monopoly market positions. It also finds productivity levels of the SOEs tend to be well below developed country benchmarks.                                             

ADB boosting access to clean, renewable energy in Pacific - report

“ADB is the largest investor in renewable energy in the Pacific, which is still heavily reliant on diesel for power generation,” said Michael Trainor, Energy Specialist in ADB’s Pacific Department. “We are working with governments and communities to improve the quantity and quality of energy services across the region by ramping up support for the transition to renewable energy.”

ADB funds programme to support fiscal resilience, growth in Tonga

“The grant and loan will fund the first of three subprogrammes of the ADB-supported Building Macroeconomic Resilience Programme for Tonga,” said Johannes Wolff, Public Finance Economist from ADB’s Pacific Department.

“The assistance is policy-based, meaning the funds can be released as budget support once policy actions outlined in the programme are successfully completed, as they have been in subprogramme one.”

ADB approves $2m grant for Tuvalu reforms

The country relies on unpredictable and volatile revenue sources, such as fishing fees, licensing fees for its ".tv" internet domain, and development assistance, making fiscal sustainability a challenge.

The bank's director for the Pacific Subregional Office, Robert Jauncey, says the policy reform programme hopes to promote public procurement policies and regulations to address these challenges.

The government hopes to support public enterprise reforms and maximise government efficiency and transparency.

ADB pushes open skies

He made the comment during a recent visit to Fiji and cited key priorities Pacific Opportunities: Leveraging Asia's Growth that would strengthen Pacific Island countries' links with Asian countries.

On shipping, Takehiko said, initial experience in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands suggested that subsidising the private sector on a competitive basis to undertake shipping routes to remote communities could be a better approach than through inefficient state-owned enterprises.

ADB President pledges expanded support for Fiji and Pacific Islands

On his first official visit to Fiji,  Nakao also called on Attorney General and Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. Discussions focused on ways ADB can further enhance its support for Fiji to meet its development priorities.    

Nakao’s programme also included a visit to the ADB-supported Kinoya wastewater treatment plant near Suva and an official address at the University of the South Pacific (USP), where he discussed potential opportunities and policy priorities for Pacific island countries.