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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 25) - A new loan allocation for Tonga from the Asian Development Bank will be decided on early next year, said Rolf Eckermann, a member of an ADB Executive Directors delegation who visited Tonga this week.

Rolf said that loan allocation for each member country of the ADB is decided on every three years, based on a Performance Base Allocation System.

Tonga is among members of the ADB that qualify for Soft Loans.

Tonga's current loan allocation has been fixed at US$7.9 million but if its past performance has been good its allocation could go up to US$13 million.

On the other hand, if it has not been good then it could go down to US$6 million.

Tonga's last loan from ADB was for US$10 Million, approved in May 2002 for private and public sector reform program.

Rolf said that it appeared that there were some problems with the implementation of the reform program, but he said it was urgent for the reforms to be implemented because the reform offers hope for an economic recovery for Tonga.

Michele Miari Fulcis, the leader of the ADB delegation, said that they were coming to Tonga not as inspectors but, "we are just friends of the country and we are also a partner of the country so our visit is to learn how to improve our service and to be closer to the needs of the country. We are 100 percent positive and we are very happy."

Tonga became a member of the ADB in 1972.

The ADB today has 63 members. Since Tonga became a member it has been granted 15 loans, totalling $58 million.

Tonga also benefited from 48 technical assistance grants, which amounted to $13 million.

September 27, 2004

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