BY BEN BILUA
SECRETARY General of the Pacific Islands Forum has called on member countries to be wary of loans as COVID-19 continues to stretch Pacific Island’s economic base.
Speaking during the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) Access to Finance Dialogue last week, Henry Puna said understanding the types of loans available is very important during this time of COVID-19 crisis.
He also urged development partners to rethink and develop new innovative financing option so as solution that not only meet the immediate needs of recovery, but also supports longer-lasting economic systems, that are sustainable for Pacific SIDS.
Commenting on the current situation, Puna said the impact of COVID-19 to respective economy in the Pacific is evident and projection has it that Small Island Developing States, will suffer more than other Developing States.
“This is a critical time for our Blue Pacific region, and indeed for our Blue Planet, and SIDS timely access to finance is therefore absolutely crucial.
“The question has to be asked is, are the international financial instruments available to us as SIDS, sufficient to meet our needs in unprecedented situations such as this? If not, why not? What can be done to improve this?
“I would offer that, the rigidity of our international financial systems, call into question their relevance and responsiveness, to the specific circumstances of SIDS, in emergency situations such as this.
“Furthermore, I would also offer that we, as a region, must continue to encourage and call, for the revision of traditional financing criteria, to take into account our vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters, as Pacific SIDS.
“Further, we should also encourage the review of funding disbursement mechanisms. Often, access to financing is hindered by burdensome requirements and demands, on our national financial systems, which are often unrealistic given our small administrative capacities, and the context within which Pacific SIDS operate,” he said.