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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Jan. 8) – The French Polynesia Assembly approved two more measures Friday aimed at boosting Tahiti’s economy.

One measure involves commercial fishing sector subsidies. The second involves relaunching home improvement projects through subsidized lower bank interest rates, boosting small construction work.

[The action follows approval by the Assembly – currently operating at less than half its full membership pending special elections next month – of government subsidized auto and home purchase loans in French Polynesia.]

The latest measures were announced by Commercial Fishing Minister Tearii Alpha and Economy Minister Teva Rohfritsch.

The two measures were rapidly approved Friday when the only Assembly opposition member present was Hiro Tefaarere, the interim speaker.

[The flurry of legislation has come under the leadership of President Gaston Flosse, whose tenure following the ouster of former president Oscar Temaru last year will be determined in the February elections.]The commercial fishing measure involves a 150 million French Pacific francs (US$1.7 million) subsidy, paid for in part by receipts from a government environment, agriculture and fishing tax of 2 percent on imports. That tax is to remain unchanged this year.

The measure also applies to commercial fisherman working in the lagoons of French Polynesia as long as they possess a professional fisherman’s card. They will qualify for a yearly maximum subsidy of 150,000 French Pacific francs (US$1,685) for necessary small material.

The small construction measure is aimed at encouraging homeowners to make improvements, thus stimulating the small and medium size businesses, such as homebuilders, plumbers and electricians. The measure focuses on projects with a value of between 300,000 French Pacific francs (US$3,370) and 10 million French Pacific francs (US$112,360).

Home improvement loans traditionally involve a bank interest rate of some 6 percent. The banks have agreed to lower the rate by 1 percent and the government has agreed to subsidize between 3 percent and 4 percent, leaving the homeowner to pay the difference of 1 percent to 2 percent.

Homeowners with income of less than three times the monthly minimum wage (375,000 French Pacific francs, or US$4,213) qualify for the 1 percent interest rate. Everyone else must pay 2 percent interest on their bank loans.

Such bank loans will be limited to seven years in length, and the government has set aside a total subsidy fund of 750 million French Pacific francs (US$8.43 million). The subsidized loans are available from mid-January until July 2.

January 10, 2005

Tahitipresse: http://www.tahitipresse.pf/index.cfm?lang=2


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