Minister highlights concerns over slow loan drawdown

February 5, 2024 6:45 am

Tourism Minister Viliame Gavoka has drawn attention to a notable concern flagged by the Reserve Bank of Fiji revealing that despite local banks approving loans, the drawdown of funds has been slow.

Gavoka expressed that people seem hesitant to draw down their approved loans, citing a lack of confidence in the economy as the underlying reason for the delay.

The Minister has urged the Nadi Chamber of Commerce to foster confidence in Fiji’s economy.

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Speaking at the Business Forum of the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gavoka shared his astonishment at the revelation by the RBF Governor.

Despite numerous approved projects and funds being transferred to banks, people appear reluctant to withdraw and invest in various endeavours.

Gavoka has emphasized the significant role of the Tourism Industry in driving Fiji’s economic recovery post-COVID-19.

Anticipating one million visitors this year, he noted that Denarau alone hosts 40 per cent of Fiji’s tourism.

Acknowledging the challenges, Gavoka emphasized Fiji’s preparedness and its advantageous position in meeting the post-pandemic demand.

He cautioned, however, that increased competition from organized destinations might pose challenges this year.

The Minister highlighted tourism as the primary foreign exchange earner, emphasizing its vulnerability to shocks including geopolitical conflicts affecting commodity prices.

On the domestic front, Gavoka addressed concerns such as adverse weather conditions impacting food prices, skill labour shortages and capacity constraints.

Gavoka also disclosed plans for the launch of a Fiji National Sustainable Tourism Framework, funded by the World Bank.

The framework, he adds will guide the future of tourism, focusing on four goals: a prosperous visitor economy, a thriving overall economy, preservation of cultures and the promotion of healthy islands and oceans.