15 December 2016

Op-ed: Credit can increase without government guarantees

Government guarantees of bank loans do little to extend access to credit. A better
approach is to encourage lenders to improve their services.  
Accessing credit is difficult for businesses in the Pacific. While there’s enough liquidity in the banking system, the ratio of private sector credit to GDP is in most cases less than 50 percent—similar to the level in many South Asian and South American countries. In developed or fast-growing economies it is typically around 100 percent.

Reasons for the lack of credit include the difficulty in using land as collateral, a lack of financial records, and poor business skills. Whatever the root cause, business cannot grow without credit, and employment, income growth, and living standards are constrained.

Government-sponsored credit guarantees are often promoted in the Pacific as a way of overcoming the lack of lending. The logic is straightforward: if the government agrees to repay some or all of a loan in the event of default, lenders will be more willing to lend and access to credit will increase.
But the rationale for guarantee schemes can be challenged on several fronts. The experience to date of the Pacific with these schemes does not make a compelling case for extending their use. In fact, they stand in the way of reforms which could resolve the underlying issues that inhibit lending.

The first challenge is theoretical. Under the schemes, the nature of the risks does not change in any way—all that changes is the entity that bears the risk. Governments typically charge lenders a fee for providing a lending guarantee. If that fee prices the risk appropriately there is still no meaningful change to the lending process—the cost is passed onto the lender and, ultimately, the borrower.

Yet, finance theory suggests that risks should be borne by the entity most familiar with them and therefore best placed to take them on. Government-backed guarantee funds are unlikely to be better at assessing risk than lenders. So when, as is often the case, guarantee funds underprice risk (or provide their guarantees for free), this encourages risky credit.

Credit guarantees can also be challenged on practical grounds. Building such guarantee schemes is a demanding exercise. Difficult questions can include: What proportion of the loan value should be guaranteed? Should individual loans be guaranteed, or a portfolio of loans, or some combination of both? Who should do the credit assessment—the lender or the guarantor? How much should the guarantor charge the lender for offering the guarantee? Should the guarantee scheme last indefinitely or should there be a sunset clause? Does the guarantor have a robust risk management framework, and is it regulated? Few governments would have the capability to address these questions.

Furthermore the track record of credit guarantees in the Pacific, and elsewhere for that matter, shows they have not spurred an appreciable increase in credit. Moreover, some schemes have suffered large losses.

Even positive experiences do not support the case for credit guarantees. In contexts where a guarantees framework appears to work, it was likely not needed in the first place and its impact would only have been to increase lending costs through an additional fee.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that credit guarantees suppress improvements in lenders’ credit assessment and risk management skills.

Banks and other credit institutions exist to finance economic activity, and that role encompasses taking on the risks associated with this financing. Credit availability increases when lenders’ skills in providing financing improve and commercial incentives are provided. A system in which lenders do not carry the risk of their lending decisions undermines both these processes.

If guarantees aren’t the answer to limited credit, then what is? It is important to remember that, while lending in the Pacific might be a little riskier than in bigger economies, and certainly riskier than in countries with bigger financial systems, this does not mean private sector lending is a lost cause. On the contrary, sensible financial sector policies and changes in lending practices supported by reforms of the business environment offer a clear path to increased credit availability.

If lenders are unwilling to lend, competition policy should promote new banking entrants and the participation of second-tier institutions like finance companies. Trade credit from non-financial institutions should also be encouraged as an additional form of business finance so, for example, wholesalers can provide short-term credit to their customers.

There’s a need for reforms to secured transactions frameworks, making it easier for lenders to accept movable assets such as accounts receivable and inventory as collateral. Regulators need to recognise the security this collateral provides. The good news here is that such reforms have now been fully implemented in seven Pacific countries and are underway in a further three.

Perhaps it is also time, given the technology now available, to seriously consider the unbundling of services provided by Pacific banks. Separating foreign exchange and other services from lending could encourage banks’ to focus on what should be their core business.

Lenders need to change their internal practices to accept new forms of collateral and offer loans that unlock the collateral value of movable assets. Financing facilities provided by the Asian Development Bank’s Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative to vanilla growers in Tonga and cocoa exporters in Solomon Islands demonstrate what is possible in this area.

Businesses in both sectors are now using crop inventory and buyer contracts as collateral. The vanilla farmers are also using their vanilla vines as collateral and the cocoa financing facility is making use of cash as collateral in addition to the cocoa beans. Embracing the opportunities offered by this type of financing would usher in more sophisticated financing instruments such as inventory and warehouse receipts, which hold great promise particularly for developing Pacific agriculture.

Reforms to lending practices should be accompanied by changes in credit assessment criteria that recognize non-monetary indicators of credit worthiness, such as personal character. These are critically important in the Pacific and can allow lenders to see beyond a lack of financial records and deliver loans that might otherwise be declined.

In the final analysis, the responsibility rests with lenders. It’s time they upgraded their credit assessment and risk management capabilities, rather than rely on guarantees.

By Peter Dirou, PSDI Senior Financial Sector Expert, and Paul Holden, PSDI Lead Economist.

27 November 2016

Op-ed: Win-win-win for Samoa SOE reform

Samoa’s success in outsourcing its road building and maintenance services provides of
model for state-owned enterprise reform that other countries should consider. 
Reforms to state owned enterprises (SOEs) can unleash productivity and efficiencies in an economy. However, such reforms can bring pain and controversy—so-called “adjustment costs”.

These costs were evident in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, when sweeping SOE reforms led to the closure of thousands of SOEs, unemployment, and social unrest. Even the more gradual reforms in the People’s Republic of China saw many SOEs dissolved.

Many economies in the Pacific are dominated by the public sector. Successive Finding Balance studies by the Asian Development Bank have revealed that Pacific SOEs are plagued by low productivity, inadequate management, and weak financial results. Because Pacific economies are small, a common perception is that there are limited opportunities for the private sector to grow and for people to find other employment. This perception has contributed to SOEs’ continued dominance in economic activities.

The reform of the Public Works Department (PWD) in Samoa provides an illuminating example of how to navigate the necessary adjustment costs and lessen the resistance to reforms. The capabilities and efficiency of the PWD had steadily fallen throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Its reform was a result of both chance and design. Two major cyclones struck Samoa in 1990 and 1991. The massive reconstruction required to repair the damage stretched the capacity of the PWD beyond its breaking point. The Government of Samoa opened up the reconstruction efforts to the private sector on a far wider scale than previously. The strong performance of private companies led the government to make a pragmatic and bold decision to completely overhaul the way road maintenance and construction work was organized and delivered: it made the PWD a contract manager which did not undertake construction itself, but managed the provision of these services by the private sector.

What distinguishes this reform, however, was the skillful way the government and its development partners managed the adjustment costs by ensuring that no employees lost their jobs involuntarily. After extensive consultation, PWD staff were offered three choices: taking redundancy with payments ranging from 3 to 18 months of salary, transferring to another government department, or establishing their own contracting firms with work guaranteed by the government for three years. Contracts were split into small packages to enable employees’ participation. Employees established three companies under this arrangement, which were given a boost by the government selling them the PWD’s heavy equipment at a sizable discount.

Over time, the results have been dramatic. The number of large Samoan owned building and construction companies has risen from 5 in 2002 to 14 in 2014 and there are now also 55 smaller Samoan companies in the sector. The restructured PWD—now called the Land Transport Authority (LTA)—estimates that the reform has resulted in more than 2000 new jobs being created either directly in the construction and road building sector, or indirectly through multiplier effects. Furthermore, the LTA estimates that productivity has increased two to three fold as a result of the reforms.

Because many new players are entering the market, the construction processes has become much more sophisticated. The LTA now insists on performance based contracts, with contractors’ remuneration being tied to quality standards. Over 95% of all roads are paved, and the quality of road surfacing is high. The cost per kilometer of road building and maintenance has fallen sharply because of the productivity improvements. Perhaps most tellingly, while civil construction in Samoa was once dominated by foreign companies, the level of local expertise and competitiveness has risen to the point where foreign firms struggle to compete with Samoan companies, which now even successfully bid on contracts in other countries in the region.

What factors enable successful SOE reform? Samoa’s PWC reform benefited from several factors. The first was a long-term (20 year) and continuing commitment to ensure a successful transformation. Secondly, efforts were made to ensure that those who could have been potentially disadvantaged were given options and treated well.

Next, contracts were broken up into smaller lots that local firms could bid for. While this entailed some up-front efficiency costs compared to tendering large packages for international firms, it helped to maintain support for reforms and build local private sector capacity. Local firms are now even participating in international competitive bidding. Finally, support from development partners, in this case the World Bank, played a critical role in implementing the reforms.

Too often, worthwhile state-owned enterprise reforms have failed due to resistance from people who were adversely affected. Samoa’s experience shows that reforms should aim to create as many winners as possible.

The aim should be to create a win-win-win situation. For the government, this means a reduced fiscal burden and higher employment. For employees, it means better job opportunities and income. And for consumers, it means better services, lower costs, and improved quality.

Samoa adopted an innovative approach that accounted for the complex political economy of the challenge. As a result, the reforms were successful and sustainable.

By Emma Fan, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office, and Paul Holden, PSDI Lead Economist.

This article was originally published in the November edition of Islands Business magazine.  



24 November 2016

Finding Balance 2016 and regional ports pricing study presented in Solomon Islands

Laure Darcy, PSDI's SOE Reform Team Leader, presents findings and recommendation relating to Solomon Islands from Finding Balance 2016
Solomon Islands-related findings and recommendations from Finding Balance 2016, PSDI’s regional state-owned enterprises benchmarking study, were presented to government and private sector representatives in Honiara today.

Laure Darcy, PSDI’s SOE Reform Team Leader and co-author of the report, explained how a reform program that incorporated financial restructuring, tariff increases and improved collections, privatization and liquidation, and compensation for providing non-commercial community services had made Solomon Islands’ SOEs the best performing in the region. The reform program led to a 21% turnaround in Solomon Islands’ SOE’s return on equity, turning an average loss of 11% between 2002–2009 into an average return of 10% during 2010–2014.

“The reduced costs, higher returns, improved service delivery, and increased private investment opportunities found in Solomon Islands show what a commitment to SOE reform can achieve in a relatively short time,” said Laure. “However, sustaining these gains and improving the performance of all Solomon Islands SOEs will require continued implementation of, and compliance with, the SOE Act.”

Findings and recommendations from a regional study of port pricing were also presented at the event. PSDI Port Expert Adrian Sammons presented analysis from his study, which compared port charges and basic productivity data for ship and cargo handling at a range of Pacific islands ports and found Solomon Islands ports were the most expensive in the region. Adrian also presented recommendations on how to improve Solomon Islands’ ports’ pricing and efficiency.

The ADB has supported a number of SOE reform initiatives in Solomon Islands, including the privatizations of Sasape Marina, Home Finance Limited, and Solomon Island Printers, and the implementation of a community service obligation framework.

Finding Balance 2016 compares the financial performance of SOEs in Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu, as well as Jamaica, Mauritius, Singapore, and New Zealand. It finds SOE portfolios in the eight Pacific countries examined contributed only 1.8% to 12% to gross domestic product, despite very large asset bases, ongoing government cash transfers, and monopoly market positions. It also finds productivity levels of the SOEs analyzed tend to be well below developed country benchmarks.

The report nonetheless finds many countries have made significant progress through commercially-oriented reforms. Solomon Islands’ leads this group—as it did in the 2014 edition of the report—followed by Tonga, where portfolio returns have increased to 6% from a low of 0% in 2009. Overall, seven of the 10 developing countries examined had seen improved SOE performance since 2010.

Finding Balance 2016 is the fifth report in the Finding Balance series, which identifies strategies to guide reforms of SOEs, highlighting the importance of balancing public and private sector roles.

22 November 2016

Expanded online registry featuring foreign investment and business names services launched in Honiara

Amila Salgado from ADB's Solomon Islands Extended Mission speaks at the launch of Solomon Islands expanded online business registry.
Applications for foreign investment licenses and business name registrations can now be lodged online and processed in 24 hours thanks to upgrades to Solomon Islands’ business registry.

The registry has been accepting online applications for company registrations since it was established with PSDI support in 2010. It has now been expanded so that applications for foreign investment licenses and business name registrations can also be lodged online.
A notice published in the Island Sun newspaper highlights
the benefits of the expanded online registry. 

Listen to PSDI's International Business Law Reform Expert Aaron Levine discuss the new registry on Radio Australia and Radio New Zealand International

The expanded registry was launched by Hunter Masuguria, Acting Permanent Secretary of Solomon Islands Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration, this morning at a ceremony attended by representatives from the private sector and the Australian and New Zealand governments.

“Accessible and transparent foreign investment processes help attract the skills and capital needed to accelerate national development,” said Emma Fan, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office. “By making it easier for foreign investors to do business in Solomon Islands and for local businesses to partner with foreign investors, this upgraded online registry removes a barrier to increased private sector-led economic growth.”

The online service will dramatically reduce the time needed to apply for a foreign investment certificate.

“Would-be foreign investors previously had to engage the services of an agent, or apply in-person in our office in Honiara, a process that typically took around 10 days,” said Invest Solomons Director Derick Aihari “Using the online registry applications can now be done anywhere and a Certificate for Foreign Investment could be issued within 24 hours.”

Similarly, business name registrations, which previously had to be done in person and took around a week to process, can now be done online and processed within a day. This will be of particular benefit to the almost-two-thousand business names applicants who have to travel from other islands each year to register their business names.

PSDI's International Business Law Reform Expert Aaron Levine delivers a
training course for business people on the functions of the new registry.
The new services available through the online registry make it possible for a business person to register as a foreign investor, incorporate a company, and register business names all in one sitting.
As the registry is searchable, key details of all companies, businesses, and foreign investors can now be verified by anyone anytime. The online system will also collect and analyze detailed data on gender, business sectors and applicants’ locations, which will assist government policy formulation.

The updated registry can be accessed at www.solomonbusinessregistry.gov.sb

15 November 2016

New PSDI report challenges use of credit guarantees

This 20-page report challenges the use of government-sponsored loan guarantees as a way of overcoming the lack of lending in the Pacific.

Credit Guarantees: Challenging Their Role in Improving Access to Finance in the Pacific Region argues there is no strong theoretical justification for the use of credit guarantees as, under the schemes, the nature of the risks involved does not change, only the entity that bears them. The report cautions that credit guarantees may encourage risky lending and increase lending costs. It also finds no evidence of credit guarantee schemes meaningfully extending access to credit, while some have suffered large losses.

The report says credit guarantees are not a substitute for improved credit assessment and credit risk management. Instead, it calls for continued support for reforms of collateral frameworks, noting that limited use of secured transactions frameworks by lenders to date does not detract from their long-term potential to increase access to credit. The report also recommends increased use of trade credit as an additional source of finance.

3 November 2016

PSDI case study: How engaging the private sector invigorated Samoa’s construction industry

Creating Jobs in Samoa through Public-Private Partnerships cover
A new PSDI case study examines Samoa’s success in contracting out its road building and maintenance work.

In 2002, Samoa’s Public Works Department was radically restructured, changing from a public construction agency to a contract manager with private sector. As Creating Jobs in Samoa through Public-Private Partnerships identifies, the results of this reform have been dramatic. They include:
the development of a dynamic and competitive construction industry;
the creation of more than 2000 jobs; and,
a fourfold increase in road building productivity.

The relevance of these reforms to the region are discussed in this op-ed published in Islands Business magazine, and PSDI Lead Economist Paul Holden can be heard discussing the reforms in Samoa in this interview with Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program.

2 November 2016

PSDI co-hosts Pacific pension funds workshop

The panel for the session titled Regulating Provident Funds and Retirement Funds
 was comprised of (L to R) Raynold Moveni from the Central Bank of Solomon
Islands, Vilimaina Dakai of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, and Warren Staley of the
Australian Prudential Regulations Authority. It was moderated by Peter Dirou,
PSDI’s Senior Financial Sector Expert. PSDI co-hosted a workshop in Suva
on November 2 and 2 to help identify policies Pacific island countries can pursue
to secure and expand their pension systems.  
PSDI co-hosted a workshop in Suva on November 2 and 3 to help identify policies Pacific island countries can pursue to secure and expand their pension systems.

Click here to listen to PSDI's Senior Financial Sector Expert Peter Dirou interviewed on Radio Australia about the challenges Pacific countries face in securing their pension funds.

Ageing populations and revenue shortfalls from low levels of formal employment are straining public pension systems in Pacific countries. Often these systems struggle to reach their beneficiaries, provide adequate support, and do so sustainably. The workshop aimed to advance discussions around how pension funds can deliver benefits to their members in the years to come.

PSDI moderated or participated in sessions discussing the challenges Pacific pension funds face; the regulatory implications of pension funds providing additional benefits, such as health care and loans; and options for pension fund reform. Discussion on the merits of pension funds providing additional benefits contrasted this practice with trends in developed countries, where pension funds tend to focus solely on retirement products.

The workshop was co-hosted by the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF). Sessions discussing the FNPF examined reforms enacted in 2011-2012 to secure the sustainability of the fund and the lessons these can offer other Pacific countries.

14 October 2016

PSDI presents draft competition policy in Vanuatu

Acting Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce
and Ni-Vanuatu Business George Borugu (standing, right) opens the
public workshop in Port Vila on 12 October.
A consultation draft of Vanuatu’s National Competition Policy prepared by PSDI was presented at a public workshop hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business on 12 October.

George Borugu, Acting Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business, opened the workshop and the draft was presented by PSDI Competition Experts Andrew Simpson and Brent Fisse.

Mr Borugu used the workshop to call for public consultation on the draft policy, with businesses and consumers invited to submit comments and feedback until 31 October.

Following the meeting, the Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business, Marokon Alilee, stressed the importance of the policy.

“With this policy, the Government is looking to recognize the importance of competition and establish the high-level principles to guide the promotion of competition. The policy builds on the direction provided in Vanuatu’s development strategy, the Priorities Action Agenda, which highlighted the lack of competition in several key markets as a serious impediment to development.”

The draft policy aims to chart a course for better consumer protection, liberalization of markets, and safeguards for the competitive process in Vanuatu. Consultation on it follows an earlier round of consultation held over August and September on the Public Issues Paper on Competition Policy and Law for Vanuatu, which PSDI also prepared.

The Government of Vanuatu requested support from PSDI in developing a competition and consumer policy in 2015. Following consultation on the draft policy, it is expected that a National Competition Policy will be submitted to the Council of Ministers for consideration and endorsement later this year.

The consultation draft of the policy can be viewed here.

10 October 2016

Timor-Leste launches PSDI-supported anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policy

Timor-Leste Minister of Justice Ivo Valente launches the AML/CFT
papers in Dili on October 7. Photo courtesy of the Office of the
 Minister of Justice Timor-Leste.
Two PSDI-supported plans that will help Timor-Leste bring its anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework in line with international standards were launched on 7 October.

The “Timor-Leste National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing” and the “Timor-Leste National Strategic Plan for Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (2016-2020)” were launched by Minister of Justice Ivo Valente at a press conference attended by local media and government officials.

See Government of Timor-Leste news release and download the documents (English translation below Portuguese versions).

7 October 2016

PSDI hosts waste management seminars in Dili

Country Dirctor of ADB's Timor-Leste Resident Mission, Paolo
Spantigati, speaks at the opening of PSDI's solid waste
management seminar for government representatives. 
PSDI hosted half-day seminars in Dili on 5 and 7 October to discuss solid waste management reforms proposed in a report prepared for the Government of Timor-Leste.

The Feasibility Study and Due Diligence Report for Dili Solid Waste Management was drafted by ADB in September 2015. It was used to inform the Dili Urban Solid Waste Management Investment Strategy, which the government is currently implementing.

The seminars—one for government officials and one for the private sector—examined options for private sector engagement, as well as technical aspects of the reforms. Each seminar was attended by more than 20 people; officials from the Ministry of State Administration, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment, the Ministry of Education, Dili Municipal Administration, and the Fiscal Reform Commission, as well as UNDP, attended the government seminar, and representatives of companies and social enterprises as well as entrepreneurs attended the private sector seminar.

3 October 2016

Updated Country and Focus Area Overviews published

PSDI’s country and work-area factsheets have been updated to feature all significant achievements and initiatives to date.

The nine Country Overviews provide detailed summaries of our work in each of ADB’s Pacific developing member countries.

The Focus Area Overviews detail all initiatives under each of PSDI’s five core work areas and our analytical work.

Click here to download all nine Country Overviews or select individual factsheets below.
Fiji
Micronesia (Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau)
Papua New Guinea
Samoa
Solomon Islands
South-Pacific microstates (Cook Islands, Tuvalu)
Timor-Leste
Tonga
Vanuatu

Click here to download all Focus Area Overviews or select individual work areas below.
Financing Growth
Business Law Reform
State-Owned Enterprise Reform and Public-Private Partnerships
Economic Empowerment of Women
Competition and Consumer Protection
Analytical Work

22 September 2016

Op-ed: Continued state-owned enterprise reform will benefit the Pacific

This week, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) launched Finding Balance 2016: Benchmarking the Performance of SOEs in Island Economies. The study, produced by ADB’s Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative, compares the financial performance of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) across 12 countries: eight Pacific countries, as well as Jamaica, Mauritius, Singapore, and New Zealand. The results are sobering.

SOEs’ performance overall lags behind their private sector counterparts. PNG’s SOE portfolio generated an average return on equity (ROE)—profit as a percentage of equity investment—of just 2.4% from 2010 through 2014. Over the same period, the portfolio’s average return on assets (ROA)—profit generated by the firm’s total assets—was only 1.3%.

PNG’s SOE’s aren’t alone in performing poorly. Only two of the 12 countries’ SOE portfolios surveyed for the study produced enough return to cover capital costs from 2010 to 2014. Some countries’ portfolios produced ROAs and/or ROEs of below zero.

Why does this matter for PNG? As the sole providers of core infrastructure services such as power, water, and port services, SOEs play a vital role in the PNG economy. When they perform poorly, the whole economy suffers. PNG needs to reinvigorate SOE reforms to improve corporate governance and transparency, boost efficiency, and bring in private sector expertise and capital.

SOE profitability has steadily declined in PNG since its peak in 2005. Over 2010 to 2014, average ROA was 1.3% and ROE 2.4%. That compares poorly with the 4% and 7%, respectively, achieved between 2002 and 2009.

A leading reason for the poor performance of SOEs around the world is weak governance frameworks. SOEs have conflicting mandates, no hard budget constraints, and poor accountability mechanisms. They are not given incentives to operate efficiently, unlike private sector firms, and are often directed to deliver unprofitable services known as community service obligations without adequate compensation. Often, SOE directors can be appointed without regard to the skills required on SOE boards.

To be successful, SOEs must have operational autonomy and be held accountable for results. Rather than approving corporate plans and directing SOEs to provide CSOs, elected officials should only influence SOE operations through the establishment of sector regulations. Only in this way will SOEs be able to focus on achieving commercial returns.

PNG has initiated reforms which, if implemented, could help to further improve SOE performance. The Community Service Obligation Policy endorsed by the National Executive Council in 2013 will ensure that SOEs are compensated for any non-commercial services they deliver. It will also allow the government to purchase these services from other providers if they are more cost-effective than SOEs. The policy was piloted with one SOE in 2015-2016 but funding has not been made available for full implementation. Funding and extending the policy to other SOEs will be an essential step towards improving their performance.

Sustained improvements to SOEs’ service delivery will require greater private sector participation and competition. The private sector can not only bring much needed capital to infrastructure service delivery, but also technology, management expertise, and strong efficiency incentives. To date, attempts to involve the private sector in SOE operations have lacked coherence and transparency. The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Act of 2014 has not been gazetted. PPPs are being developed in an ad-hoc manner, increasing their perceived risk—and, therefore, cost. This could be quickly remedied by implementing the PPP Act and building national expertise in developing PPPs.

Many of these proposed reforms are already in place in countries with stronger performing SOE portfolios such as Singapore, where all infrastructure SOEs are publicly listed and have partial private ownership. Most were established as joint ventures with the private sector. Most importantly, Singapore’s SOEs operate at arm’s length from politics and are exposed to international markets and competition.

SOE reform requires sustained political commitment to strengthen underlying legislation, resist interference, and allow greater private sector participation. These reforms have been initiated in PNG but have lost some momentum. With renewed political commitment, PNG can realize the enormous benefits of a fully-implemented SOE reform program.

By Laure Darcy, PSDI SOE Reform Team Leader

This piece was originally published in The National on 22 September 2016.

Finding Balance 2016 launched in Port Moresby

Pictured at the launch of Finding Balance 2016 are (left to right): David Conn, Chief Executive of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Jodie McAlister, Counsellor (Economic Governance and Private Sector Development, Australian High Commission; Laure Darcy, PSDI SOE Reform Team Leader; Patrick Pruaitch, PNG Minister for Treasury; Christopher Russell, PSDI SOE Reform Expert; and Tony Fautua, New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG. 
Analysis and recommendations from Finding Balance 2016 were presented at a breakfast hosted by the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry today.

Around 80 members of PNG's business community attended the event, along with the PNG Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch, New Zealand High Commissioner Tony Fautua, US Ambassador Walter North and staff from the Australian High Commission.

The report's authors, PSDI State-owned Enterprise (SOE) Reform Team Leader Laure Darcy and SOE Reform Expert Christopher Russell, presented its findings, highlighting its analysis of PNG's SOEs.

The report found the profitability of PNG’s SOE portfolio has declined steadily since its peak in 2005. Between 2010 and 2014, PNG’s SOE portfolio produced an average return on assets of 1.3% and an average return on equity of 2.4%, down from 4% and 7%, respectively, between 2002 and 2009.

The report says incomplete implementation of 2014’s Public-Private Partnerships Act, and the transfer of SOE oversight responsibilities to the National Executive Council in 2015, are impeding reforms that would improve SOE performance. Ms Darcy called for renewed efforts to advance reforms to PNG's SOEs so the country can reap the benefits of better performing SOEs.

Click here to hear SOE Reform Team Leader Laure Darcy discuss Finding Balance 2016 on Radio Australia. 

See news release

19 September 2016

Latest edition of state-owned enterprise benchmarking study released

Finding Balance 2016 cover
The fifth edition of PSDI’s comparative study of state-owned enterprise (SOE) performance in the Pacific has been published.

Finding Balance 2016: Benchmarking the Performance of State-owned Enterprises in Island Countries assess the performance of SOEs in Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu, as well as Jamaica and Mauritius. This is the first edition to include Kiribati and Vanuatu. Results from New Zealand and Singapore were also added to enrich the global benchmark.

As per earlier editions, Finding Balance 2016 identifies strategies to guide reforms of SOEs, highlighting the importance of balancing public and private sector roles.

The report emphasizes political commitment to reform as a key driver for commercial results, as demonstrated by the experience of each of the countries benchmarked. It finds many countries have made significant progress through commercially-oriented reforms. Solomon Islands’ SOE portfolio’s return on equity jumped from -11% in 2002-2009 to 10% in 2010-2014. In Tonga, portfolio returns have increased to 6% from a low of 0% in 2009. Overall, seven of the 10 countries examined had seen improved SOE profitability since 2010.

The report nonetheless highlights that, while improvements had been achieved, sustaining them has proven impossible in most countries, both developed and developing. It finds SOE portfolios in the eight Pacific countries examined contributed only 1.8% to 12% to gross domestic product, despite very large asset bases, ongoing government cash transfers, and monopoly market positions. It also finds productivity levels of the SOEs analyzed tend to be well below developed country benchmarks.

Drawing on the experiences of New Zealand and Singapore, the report concludes that increased private sector ownership and operation of SOEs is the only way to lock in reform gains.

The 10 participating countries were selected for their comparability and SOE reform experience. Their participation demonstrates their governments’ willingness to identify and address the core issues within their SOE sectors. This transparency is an essential precursor to successful reform.

28 July 2016

Solomon Islands private sector assessment launched in Brisbane and Honiara

The Prime Minister of Solomon Islands and other government
representatives were among the large audience at the launch
of the report in Brisbane.
Key findings and recommendations from Continuing Reforms to Stimulate Private Sector Investment were shared by the PSDI team at two launch events recently.

The report was presented in a session at the Australia Solomon Islands Business Forum in Brisbane, Australia, on 22 July. PSDI Lead Economist Paul Holden and Gender Specialist Vijaya Nagarajan presented it to more than 100 government and private sector representatives from both countries, including Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare; five senior Solomon Islands’ ministers; Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Islands Concetta Ferriavanti-Wells; Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Andrew Byrne; and Central Bank of Solomon Islands Deputy Governor Gane Simbe.

The launch in Honiara generated a lot of coverage in
local media.
In Honiara, PSDI hosted an event to present the report to government and private sector representatives at the Heritage Park Hotel on 26 July. Attendees included Solomon Islands’ Permanent Secretary of Finance, the Governor of the central bank, CEOs of major companies and SOEs, representatives from the chamber of commerce and the Government of Australia, and journalists. The event was widely reported on in the local media.

The report provides a snapshot Solomon Islands current business environment, with a particular focus on constraints to private sector investment and growth.

See news release and op-ed published in the Solomon Star.

17 July 2016

Findings from upcoming assessment of Pacific state-owned enterprises performance presented in Fiji

PSDI SOE Reform Expert Chris Russel presents the key results from Finding
Balance 2016
 at the Pacific Update Conference in Suva, Fiji.
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are a significant drain on Pacific island economies, with the returns from most countries’ SOE portfolios not even meeting their capital costs, according to an upcoming PSDI report.

Advance copies of Finding Balance 2016, the latest edition of ADB’s landmark assessment of Pacific SOEs’ performance, were shared at the Pacific Update Conference at the University of South Pacific, Fiji today.

The report finds SOE portfolios in the eight Pacific countries examined contributed only 1.8% to 12% to gross domestic product, despite their very large asset base, ongoing government cash transfers, and monopoly market positions. It also finds productivity levels of the SOEs tend to be well below developed country benchmarks.

“Low SOE returns are not unique to the Pacific but are common throughout the developing and developed world,” said Christopher Russell, PSDI SOE Expert. “They reveal a fundamental flaw in the SOE model: it is not an effective long-term ownership structure as politicians will avoid commercial decisions that may have short-term political costs.”

Fiji-related results from Finding Balance 2016.
The report assesses the performance of SOEs in Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu, as well as Jamaica and Mauritius. It finds many countries have made significant progress through commercially-oriented reforms. Solomon Islands’ SOE portfolio’s return on equity jumped from -11% in 2002-2009 to 10% in 2010-2014. In Tonga, portfolio returns have increased to 6% from a low of 0% in 2009. Overall, seven of the 10 countries examined had seen improved SOE profitability since 2010.

The report also highlights that, while improvements had been achieved, sustaining them has proven impossible in most countries, both developed and developing. Drawing on the experiences of New Zealand and Singapore, the report concludes that increased private sector ownership and operation of SOEs is the only way to lock in reform gains.  

Finding Balance 2016: Benchmarking the Performance of State Owned Enterprises in Island Countries will be published in August. It will be the fifth report in the Finding Balance series, which identifies strategies to guide reforms of SOEs, highlighting the importance of finding the right balance between public and private sector roles.

30 June 2016

Spreading the word on an easier way to do business in Vanuatu

Participants at the business registry information session in Lakatoro, Malampa province, on 22 June with PSDI Business Law Reform Expert
Aaron Levine (centre).  
The benefits of Vanuatu’s new online business registry and modernized, simplified business laws have been highlighted in a country-wide awareness-raising campaign by PSDI in partnership with the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission.

From August 2015 to June 2016, presentations on how to use the system were delivered to provincial leaders and representatives from government, business, and civil society in Lakatoro, Penama, Port Vila, Santo and Tanna. PSDI Business Law Reform Expert Aaron Levine along with staff from the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission, which manages the registry, gave the presentations in Bislama, English and French, and held discussions with participants.

The registry, created last year with support from PSDI, dramatically simplifies the process of formalizing companies, small businesses, and charitable organizations. By enabling business registration, governance, and fee payments to be done online the system reduces the average time needed for company registrations from over three weeks to under three days.

28 June 2016

PSDI January-June 2016 newsletter released

PSDI’s first newsletter for 2016 is now available for download.

The newsletter looks back at PSDI’s activities over the first six months of 2016. It features articles on:
The activation of Papua New Guinea’s secured transactions registry
The regional Leaders Seminar on State-owned Enterprise Reform hosted by PSDI in Sydney
The passage of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act in Samoa
The conclusion of PSDI’s Tongan pilot project, the Women’s Business Leadership Program
The presentation of upcoming publications on credit guarantees and the Doing Business indicators at the Australasian Aid Conference.

The newsletter also contains a summary of PSDI’s key achievements and milestones so far this year, along with links to associated media coverage and discussion.

Download the newsletter here.

27 June 2016

Op-ed: Consumer Protection and Competition Review needed for a fairer PNG

By Andrew Simpson, PSDI Competition Expert and Coordinator of the Consumer and Competition Framework Review Team. This article was originally published in The National on 27 June, 2016.

For 14 years now, through its regulatory, price oversight, and competition law functions, the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission has worked to protect the interests of consumers and businesses in PNG.

The business environment and consumers’ expectations have changed, however, since the ICCC was established by an Act of Parliament in 2002. The business environment is more complex, dynamic, and diverse. Consumers have gained access to more products and services from more producers and suppliers. The government recently initiated a broad review of the consumer protection and competition promotion framework to ensure the law can protect consumers from unfair dealing and enable businesses to enter new markets and grow.

The Consumer and Competition Framework Review was initiated by the Department of Treasury and supported by the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative, an Asian Development Bank (ADB) program with funding from the Australian and New Zealand governments. For over a year the team has been meeting with consumers and business people to understand their needs and concerns. Once consultations are complete and all inputs considered, the review team will provide a set of recommendations to the Government for a modernized ICCC that responds better to the needs of individuals and the economy.

An emphasis on women as consumers and business owners is central to the review. Although women comprise a large share of consumers and a growing number of business owners, the current framework will not meet their needs and circumstances. Unless women are aware of the consumer protection and competition laws and able to rely on them, those laws will not effectively protect their interests and promote economic growth for all.

The ICCC has multiple roles affecting PNG consumers and businesses. It is responsible for product safety, price control, regulation of four state owned enterprises (SOEs), and enforcement of competition laws. The review seeks to balance the outcomes of these interconnected responsibilities. Fair treatment of consumers and small businesses is an important goal, but the legal framework must also promote economic growth and investment without imposing excessive costs on public finances or private firms.

The ICCC enforces product safety standards and certifies the accuracy of scales used by traders. These standards are critical to ensuring consumers are not exposed to unsafe products and get what they have paid for. If consumers do not have confidence in the goods they buy and the traders who sell them, they will spend less and economic growth will suffer. As PNG’s consumer protection laws are less comprehensive than those of many countries, the review is considering whether additional protections are required. These may include a ban on “misleading or deceptive” conduct in commerce, such as charging high prices at the checkout than advertised in-store, or altering a second-hand good to hide its faults.

The Commission monitors prices charged for rice, flour, and sugar, and oversees price controls for fuels, PMV, taxi fares, and water and sewerage services. It thereby reflects the government’s desire to safeguard consumers from unduly high prices for these essential goods and services. At the same time, the ICCC recognizes that prices should reflect supply and demand. The review is examining whether price monitoring and control operate effectively in these markets.

SOEs that provide ports, electricity, postal and third-party motor vehicle insurance services are regulated under agreements negotiated with the Commission every five years. Businesses and consumers alike rely on these services, and their cost, quality, and reliability are matters of widespread concern. The regulation that governs SOEs—and the obligations and expectations the government places on SOEs and their managers—shapes their charges and the services they provide. For this reason, the review is exploring SOEs’ incentives and opportunities for promoting their efficient operation.

Importantly, the Commission also enforces PNG’s competition laws, which aim to ensure that businesses compete on a level playing field. Anti-competitive conduct by firms, such as price-fixing, bid-rigging, or driving smaller rivals out of markets, ultimately increases prices for consumers and reduces new investment.

Competition laws that are clearly worded, widely known, and effectively enforced are essential to preventing such behaviour. The review is considering how the existing competition laws—and enforcement of them—can be improved. The review is also considering whether competition laws can be expressed more clearly, whether the ICCC has enough resources, and whether enforcement powers and processes are effective As the SOEs are large businesses, the review is also considering how they can compete on an equal basis with private firms.

This review will help create a fairer PNG and an economy that works better for businesses and citizens alike. We can meet this challenge by considering the views of all parts of society, as well as the needs of the economy.

The review team is currently seeking comments from businesses and members of the in PNG public on all issues regarding consumer protection and competition in PNG. For more information and the three issues papers visit www.CCFReview.info 

20 June 2016

Timor-Leste strengthens response to money-laundering, terrorism financing

With PSDI support, the Government of Timor-Leste has approved two key documents that will bring its anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework into line with international, Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) standards.

PSDI has been working with the National Commission for the Implementation of Measures to Combat Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism to undertake a national risk assessment, draft a strategic plan to respond to shortcomings identified in the assessment, and guide the implementation of AML/CFT processes across government and the private sector.

The risk assessment was based on inputs from a broad range of public and private sector stakeholders—whose perceptions it gathered on the money laundering and terrorist financing threats and vulnerabilities faced by Timor-Leste—and on  relevant data, such as that concerning on proceeds-generating crimes.

The strategic plan responds to the threats and vulnerabilities identified in the risk assessment and in an evaluation undertaken in 2012 by the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a regional associate of FATF. The plan identifies strategic objectives and provides a roadmap for implementing key legal and institutional changes needed to strengthen the AML/CFT framework.

13 June 2016

Comparative study on Pacific ports’ pricing and productivity released

PSDI regional ports study front cover
A PSDI analysis of seaport pricing has found significantly higher costs and lower productivity in Solomon Islands compared to other ports in the region.

The study benchmarked regional port productivity and tariffs and found the Solomon Islands Port Authority (SIPA) underperformed the port services of neighboring countries, with a port call in Solomon Islands costing double, on average, that of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Tonga. The study reports that SIPA’s high tariffs and low productivity have resulted in the price of imports and exports increasing and caused shipping lines to reduce their traffic through the port.

The study outlines a range of measure that could be undertaken immediately to improve SIPA’s performance and lower its charges.

The study can be downloaded here.

29 May 2016

Women's Business Leadership pilot project underway in Fiji

Pictured with the program participants are Lynette Mayne, Course Trainer (3rd from left); Vijaya Nagarajan, PSDI Gender Specialist (4th from left); and Valerie Mosley, Course Trainer (5th from left).
PSDI’s Women's Business Leadership pilot project was launched in Fiji today with 29 participants joining PSDI trainers for the first of three, two-day training sessions.

The year-long training program pairs participants with local and international business mentors and gains support from their employers to help see more women reach positions of leadership.

The pilot project is being replicated in Fiji having concluded in Tonga four months ago.

22 May 2016

Private sector assessment for Solomon Islands released

Further reforms to Solomon Islands business environment are needed to attract investment that will diversify the economy and grow the private sector, says PSDI’s private sector assessment (PSA) for Solomon Islands.

CLICK HERE to listen to PSDI's Paul Holden discuss Solomon Islands' reform achievements and the recommendations of this private sector assessment in an interview with Radio Australia's Pacbeat program. 

The report, Continuing Reforms to Stimulate Private Investment: A Private Sector Assessment for Solomon Islands, identifies reform initiatives previously undertaken by the Government of Solomon Islands as having enhanced the country’s business environment. It recommends further measures to attract investment and promote formal sector employment that can help alleviate poverty and promote growth.

“Solomon Islands has implemented many private sector development-oriented reforms that have secured tangible benefits for its economy and people,” said Hayden Everett, Senior Country Specialist at ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office. “Building on those achievements and making it easier for businesses to start-up and grow in the formal economy offers a sustainable way to accelerate economic growth and improve livelihoods.”

The report provides a snapshot of Solomon Islands current business environment, with a particular focus on constraints to private sector investment and growth. It proposes responses to a range of challenges affecting the environment, including improving the financial system, making state-owned enterprises more efficient, enhancing access to skilled labor, promoting women’s economic empowerment, supporting competition, and modernizing the tax system.

The recommendations aim to inform discussions on future reform initiatives, with the report noting that capacity constraints will limit responses initially available to the government and the business community.

The report builds on a 2005 PSA for the country prepared by the ADB. It is the first of four PSAs PSDI is producing for Pacific island countries this year. PSDI's private sector assessments focus on institutional and policy reforms needed to remove constraints to broad-based private sector growth.

15 May 2016

PSDI's Peter Dirou discusses how PNG's new secured transactions registry will help extend access to credit

PSDI's Senior Financial Expert Peter Dirou has been interviewed by ABC Radio's Pacific Beat program about the recent activation of Papua New Guinea's Personal Property Security Registry.

“Lenders will use the registry to register their security interest in an asset that has been used as collateral by a borrower," said Peter.

"The generic term is ‘moveable assets’ … these are assets other than land and buildings, such as inventory, accounts receivable, contracts; the assets on the balance sheet where, typically, the value of a small business resides. It makes sense to be able to unlock the collateral value of those assets to increase finance in countries like PNG.”

Listen to the full interview here.

10 May 2016

PNG moveable asset registry goes live, completing its secured transactions framework

More businesses will soon be able to access credit in Papua New Guinea (PNG) following the activation of an online registry that enables lenders to easily accept moveable property, such as vehicles, machinery or stock, as collateral.

“The activation of this registry completes a new framework for lending that is safe, convenient, and sustainable,” said Hayden Everett, Senior Country Specialist at the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office. “As demonstrated elsewhere in the Pacific, making moveable collateral viable for lenders results in the extension of credit to new categories of borrowers and unlocks the value of so-called ‘dead capital’.”

The registry, together with the Personal Property Security Act that underpins it, allows lenders to quickly and conveniently secure their claim on non-land assets pledged by borrowers as collateral. Once registered, lenders can easily repossess these assets in the event of non-repayment.

As well as allowing lenders to register their security interest in a pledged asset, the registry also allows them to verify the asset has not already been pledged to someone else. It is expected that the convenience and accessibility of the registry will also encourage non-bank lenders, such as wholesalers and supply stores, to extend credit, as this can now be secured against their customers’ business assets or outputs.

The registry was launched and a test version made available to the public in January this year. It went live this week following the official commencement of the Personal Property Security Act.

Creation of the registry and passage of the act was led by the Government of PNG’s Department of Treasury, with support from ADB’s Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI).

PSDI has been helping the country’s financial institutions make use of the new framework by assisting them to transfer existing loans to the registry, and by advising them on new loan products they can now offer. PNG is the eighth Pacific country that PSDI has helped establish a ‘secured transactions’ framework.

The registry is managed by the Investment Promotion Authority and can be accessed at https://ppsrpng.com

9 May 2016

Op-ed: Lending reforms can boost Pacific growth

With PSDI support, eight Pacific countries have now implemented
secured transactions reforms, which extend access to credit by
making 'moveable' property, such as machinery, crops or stock, viable
forms of collateral.
By Peter Dirou, PSDI Senior Financial Sector Expert, and Terry Reid, PSDI Business Law Reform Expert

Small and medium-sized enterprises in Pacific island states often find it difficult to get credit. Financial institutions in the region tend to view lending to smaller businesses as risky because, without land and buildings as collateral, the likelihood of repayment in case of default can appear low.

This situation is starting to change. Seven Pacific island countries have instituted a system to help lenders accept 'movable' property, such as vehicles, machinery or even accounts receivable, as loan collateral, and more are following in their wake.

Increasing access to finance will benefit business and promote growth. Finance enables entrepreneurs to start new businesses and expand existing ones. Businesses often need credit to buy equipment and for working capital to hold inventory and extend trade credit to their customers. Many farmers need credit to buy the seeds, fertilizer and feed needed to grow crops and raise livestock. This finance and credit may come from banks, finance companies or sellers of equipment, inventory, supplies and fuel. Without it, business opportunities can go to waste to the detriment of economic growth.

In January, Papua New Guinea became the seventh Pacific island economy to establish a framework for secured transactions. PNG's new web-based registry, within the context of the Personal Property Security Act passed in 2011, will allow lenders to safely and easily accept movable property as collateral and repossess and sell such assets if a borrower defaults. For lenders, this will reduce the risk of extending loans and increase the likelihood of being repaid.

For borrowers, the new arrangement will make it easier to access credit. For PNG, the framework will promote economic development by extending access to finance on commercial terms as has been the case in the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Secured transaction reforms in each of these countries have been supported by the Asian Development Bank's Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative, a technical assistance facility supported by the Australian and New Zealand governments that addresses constraints to private-sector development. While lenders could already repossess movable assets offered as collateral and sell them to recover outstanding amounts before these reforms, this typically required the involvement of lawyers and the courts, making for costs and risks unacceptable to most Pacific lenders.

Under a secured transactions framework, lenders may seize pledged assets without a court order. Additionally, through online registries, lenders can quickly verify that the assets a borrower is offering as security have not already been pledged, adding another level of security. In the past, uncertainty on this point was often cited by banks as a major disincentive against lending because it was not uncommon for borrowers to pledge the same collateral to several parties.

PNG, along with Samoa, Fiji and East Timor, which are also in the process of instituting secured transaction frameworks, drew lessons from the seven Pacific island countries that have already enacted the reform. Lenders were approached early and advice provided to help them understand and apply the new framework.

So far, all the countries that have implemented the reform have benefited from increased lending, particularly to smaller businesses, the poor and women, who in the Pacific can be remarkably entrepreneurial.

As the new framework for lending allows borrowers to use movable assets as security for borrowing, it unlocks large amount of "dead capital" that was previously not usable as collateral for loans. Moreover, the reform promotes increased finance based on commercial lending that does not require government intervention or loan guarantees.

Another benefit of secured transactions, stemming from the convenience and accessibility of electronic registries, is that it encourages non-bank suppliers, such as equipment sellers, motor vehicle dealers, those who sell inventory to businesses and suppliers of agricultural inputs to extend credit to their customers secured against the output it is used to produce. For example, in Tonga, loans to rejuvenate and extend vanilla plantations are being secured against a pledge of future crops.

Establishing a secured transaction framework does not instantly expand access to credit. Lenders and suppliers need assistance to use the systems and encouragement to establish new loan products and credit services. Potential borrowers, especially SMEs, need to be made aware of how such frameworks can improve their access to credit. But in time, as much of the Pacific is discovering, these reforms expand and strengthen the business environment, spurring productivity, efficiency and poverty reduction.

This op-ed was first published in Nikkei Asian Review on 6 May 2016.

26 April 2016

First paper in PSDI’s Knowledge Series released

Digital Financial Services cover
A new PSDI publication examines the use, challenges and potential of mobile phone-based banking services in the Pacific region.

Digital Financial Services in the Pacific: Experiences and Regulatory Issues identifies mobile banking and the use of technology as a particularly effective way to enhance access to financial services in a region beset by challenging geography and poor infrastructure. The uptake of mobile banking has been held back, however, by issues such as a lack of consumer confidence in the technology and uncertain regulatory frameworks. This report suggests a framework for regulating digital financial services that will enhance their scope in the region.

The report was produced in collaboration with the Digital Financial Services Research Team at the University of New South Wales. It is the first of PSDI’s Knowledge Series, which will offer insight and analysis to inform discussion around private sector-oriented reforms in the Pacific region.

17 April 2016

New PSDI country factsheets released

Vanuatu factsheet image
PSDI’s country factsheets have been updated to feature all significant achievements and initiatives to date.

The nine factsheets build on the information presented in our 2014-2015 Annual Progress Report with recent activities and historical perspective to provide a comprehensive overview of our work in each of ADB’s Pacific developing member countries.

Click here to download all nine factsheets or select individual factsheets below.