India denies request to convert FSC loan into grant

March 7, 2024 7:20 am

[File Photo]

Sugar Industry Minister Charan Jeath Singh says he has been advised by the Indian Government that they cannot convert the Exim Bank loan into a grant.

Singh received this communication during his recent visit to India.

Earlier, Singh had informed FBC News that efforts were underway to convert the initial $102 million loan taken by the Fiji Sugar Corporation into a grant.

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The firm tasked with executing the project allegedly failed, resulting in substantial debt for the FSC.

Singh explains that the Indian Government clarified they cannot write off the loan, as they have similar arrangements with numerous African countries.

He says that if India were to convert FSC’s loan into a grant, it would set a precedent for other African countries

“What they have done, a counter-proposal to us, is that whatever the total amount of loan as of today, they will write off all the interest, and they will basically nullify all the interest part, and then they will block it. So, there will be no more interest to be charged. We are only supposed to pay them the principal.”

Singh says they are negotiating to pay the loan within the next 15 years.