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Australia to help kick-start business reccovery in Tonga.



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The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA

AA 07 06 12 February 2007

Australia to Help Kick-Start Business Recovery in Tonga

Australia will provide up to $1.5 million to assist business in Tonga recover in the wake of last year's civil unrest.

Our contribution is part of a joint commitment by Australia, New Zealand and the Government of Tonga to encourage businesses to rebuild, re-open and rehire employees.

The commitment is expected to benefit over 130 businesses which were looted and damaged during the upheaval in November.

The business recovery facility will allow access to subsidised loans for two years, easing businesses' immediate cash flow burden.

Business advisory services and limited credit guarantees will make access to credit easier.

The National Reserve Bank of Tonga will hold Australia's contribution in a trust fund which will distribute funds via the commercial banks to eligible business proprietors.

The process will be independently monitored ensuring both accountability and transparency.

We will contribute to the Government of Tonga's emergency relief fund to help people unable to meet their financial commitments in the wake of the unrest.

Australia will continue to provide assistance to the National Reserve Bank of Tonga as part of our commitment to economic growth in Tonga.

Media contacts:

AusAID Public Affairs 0417 680 590

Tony Parkinson (Mr Downer's Office) 02 6277 7500

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