First tranche of $2m loan available
BY CHARLES KADAMANA
Ministry of Culture and Tourism have signed $2 million guarantee support scheme with Development Bank of Solomon Islands (DBSI) to support local tourism operators yesterday.
The grant agreement was signed by Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Culture and Tourism Andrew Nihopara, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance and Treasury Mckinnie Dentana and DBSI Chief Executive officer Tukana Bovoro witnessed by official from the office of the Prime Minister.
Under the agreement DBSI will manage the tourism loan in liaison with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT).
Mr Nihopara explains that guarantee support scheme targets existing tourism operators in the rural villages to improve their facilities.
He said to be eligible the tourism operators will apply in a form of loan at DBSI with endorsement from the MCT.
He said the migration of tourism support fund to DBSI goes in line with policy redirection of the current government.
He said previously the tourism operators get direct support from the Ministry but as of now they are taking a more commercial approach so that it can be managed through loan or tourism facility by financial institution.
He said the guarantee scheme will go through a transition phase.
“We are providing a tourism guarantee support scheme and then through the process we hope to working with the bank to refine the process and then hopefully by next year we should move to lending portfolio.
“For a start the ministry is putting the first tranche of $2 million into to DBSI that will help the establishment of this process going forward.
“It will be an ongoing process that will continuously refining over the first year and hopefully by next year we will have much more established tourism support facility within the bank.”
He acknowledges DBSI for accepting his team proposal to work on tourism support facility that will be managed with the bank.
PS Finance Mr McKinnie Dentana describes the partnership as historical evidence since the resumption of DBSI last year.
“I congratulate my colleague here not only as first product that engage with the bank but also as one of the ministries in the process of implementing the 2021 budget.
“As far as my responsibility as chairman to this bank is concerned, one of the policy resumptions of the bank is to ensure the institution carries forward some of the important policies of the government to promote certain activities in our economy,” Dentana said.
He said the signing of MOU is a fulfilment of the policy that is in the legislation of the bank and this is a great achievement.
“This is the first arrangement that we witness, there are some more arrangement that will come in the future next year. One is on agriculture.
“I would like to have this kind of facilities to sustain the programme for the long term that can benefit other operators as well in the industry,” he said.
CEO Bovoro said the singing of the agreement is the first of such collaboration between the government and DBSI.
He said part of DBSI strategy is try to implement government policy and programmes based on bank category.
He said the discussion between the two parties is very clear and will be followed.
He said in order for the customer to comply there are certain steps both parties will comply with their rules and banks is happy to be part of the program.
He said with the initial support of $2 million DBSI will use it to the existing players in various ways-either as a loan, a guaranty.
“We are trying to develop is an interest payment support mechanism,” he said.
He said Covid-19 has kill the tourism industry in the country and this is a time for them to fixing their facilities in preparation for when the tourism boarder opens back.
He said due to limited funding they are targeting the low hanging fruits to improve their facilities.