Minam: Budget fit-for-purpose

Fiji Development Bank, CEO, Saud Minam. Picture: FILE

The Fiji Development Bank (FDB) has welcomed the 2021-2022 National Budget, according to chief executive officer Saud Minam.

He said the budget was courageous, echoed compassion and was fit-for-purpose.

“It is a much-needed boost to support FDB’s own efforts in fitting in the existing support framework for its customers affected by the pandemic by providing a platform for businesses to sustain themselves during these trying times,” Mr Minam said.

“The $200 million cash injection to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector, which could be accessed through FDB, fully subsidised for two years, is an enormous commitment by Government for the resilient recovery of Fijian businesses.

“Under this initiative, when businesses take a loan from FDB, ranging between $10,000 and $100,000, they will not be repaying anything to the bank for two years – it will be an interest-only loan for that period that the Government will pay on behalf of the business.”

Mr Minam said from the third year, after two full years of cushioned recovery, businesses could start repaying their loan.

“Such an initiative is definitely in line with FDB’s own strategy of easing customers’ cashflow burdens to support their business continuity.

“We have been providing COVID relief and rehabilitation assistance to our customers since March last year in the form of loan moratorium options.

“We have also identified other incentives in the budget that could assist our customers to invest in growth and diversification of their business,” added Mr Minam.

The Budget, according to FDB chairman Andre Viljoen, would provide the needful stimulus for a resilient economic recovery by addressing the most wide-ranging socio-economic aspects of Fijians’ livelihood and safety.

It also addressed the financial burdens of businesses which continued to grapple with the impacts of the pandemic.

“It is a shot in the arm for our MSMEs, an important sector that supports close to 60 per cent of Fijians in job and our agriculture customers,” he said.

“We, at FDB, are ready to look after our customers, hold their hand and take them through with this budget support.

“The Budget will empower the FDB to foster an enabling environment for its existing and new customers.

“Another good news is for our largest customer-base – agriculture, with the Government increasing its interest-rate subsidy for agriculture loans by FDB from 6 per cent to 8 per cent and increasing the loan limit for the subsidy from $50,000 to $100,000, our customers will pay less.”

The FDB will be delivering services through its digital channels during this pandemic and the team was working on delivering this and would communicate this soon, according to Mr Minam.

Customers were urged to email them at info@fdb.com.fj in the meantime.

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