Tonga’s repayment of its $119 million pa'anga loan from the EXIM Bank of China for the reconstruction of the Nuku‘alofa Central Business District has been deferred for another five years.
However, the Chinese Embassy told Matangi Tonga yesterday that the EXIM Bank of China's deferring of Tonga’s $119m loan repayment had no connection whatsoever to the signing by Tonga’s Prime Minister, Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva and the Chinese Ambassador to Tonga HE Wang Baodong of the Belt and Road Initiative Memorandum of Understanding in Nuku’alofa on 12 November this year.
Benjamin Yu, the second Secretary on Economic and Commerce at the Chinese Embassy in Nuku’alofa told Matangi Tonga that he noticed that some western media had rumored that there is “causality” between the Belt and Road Initiative MOU and the loan deferring agreement, but the truth is that: “these two agreements were not related at all. Chinese Government has never set the signature of Belt and Road Initiative MOU as a pre-condition for the signature of a loan deferring agreement for the Tongan Government and would never do such things.”
The deferring of Tonga’s loan repayment was signed by Tonga’s Minister of Finance, Hon. Pohiva Tu‘i‘onetoa and EXIM Bank of China official in Port Moresby, during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC 2018 Annual Meeting from 17-18 November.
It was the second time that Tonga’s repayment of its Concessional Loan from the EXIM Bank has been deferred, the first five years’ deferment was in 2013.
Significant this time, was that only the repayment of the $119m pa'anga loan from the EXIM Bank of China for the reconstruction of the Nuku’alofa Central Business District was deferred for another five years and not other loans from EXIM.
There are also loans for roads.