NEW ZEALAND PROVIDES AID TO PACIFIC PRIVATE SECTOR

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (April 26, 2000 - Fiji's Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---Ten training and business development grants to support private sector development in six Pacific Island countries have been announced by New Zealand Associate Minister for Foreign Affairs Matt Robson.

The grants, which total NZ $388,873 (US$ 188,837), come under the Pacific Islands Investment and Development Scheme (PIIDS), part of New Zealand's Official Development Assistance (NZODA Program).

PIIDS is a development program that relies on private sector initiatives. It provides an opportunity for the New Zealand private sector to be involved in assisting South Pacific countries to meet their development needs.

A statement from the New Zealand government said grants were allocated according to each proposal's development merit, commercial viability, and the likely long-term economic and employment benefits for the recipient country. Among the countries that will benefit from this latest round of grants are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Niue, Samoa and Tonga.

Among others who will be hired to help the individual island countries is Chris May, the managing director of the New Zealand-based firm, Bioglobal Consultancy. He will travel to Niue and the Cook Islands to support the local organic groups improve their industry.

For the FSM, a tourism company in New Zealand will travel to Pohnpei to provide tourism business advice to locals. A consultant will also travel to the state of Chuuk to conduct a seminar titled, "Accounting for Small Business for the Federated States of Micronesia Development Bank (FSMDB)."

For Fiji, Corrine Charan of Auckland will travel to Nadi, Fiji to run a training program for the Nadi Women's Council in designing handicrafts using locally available resources.

Officials from the Tonga Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are also set to receive training from the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand to enable them to ensure product quality through improved production and post-harvest practices for papaya. Brett Norager, a Tongan, and Philip Norager of New Zealand will establish a business partnership (Norsa Entreprises), supplying and selling plants from their nursery on Tongatapu.

The PIIDS equity grant will be used as funding to support the expansion of the nursery to meet a contract opportunity for the nursery propagation of coffee plants.

Among the objectives of the PIIDS is to encourage private sector development in Pacific Island Countries in partnership with the New Zealand private sector. It also encourages the development of employment and economic growth.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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