A significant and increasing number of reforms supported by the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (P.S.D.I) are resulting in legislative and structural changes that encourage investment and entrepreneurship across the region, according to P.S.D.I’s 8th Annual Progress Report released yesterday.
“P.S.D.I’s achievements and the expansion of support outlined in this report illustrate the effectiveness of this initiative and its appropriateness for the Pacific,” said Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of the Asian Development Bank (A.D.B)’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office.
“With continued commitment from Pacific governments and our partners, there is enormous potential to build on this work and develop private sectors geared to sustainable, inclusive growth.”
The report notes that P.S.D.I-supported modern company registries established in Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga are encouraging business formalization; opportunities for public-private partnerships have been improved in five countries including Papua New Guinea (P.N.G) and Timor-Leste; and efforts to improve the efficiency of state-owned enterprises are ongoing in seven countries including Fiji and Vanuatu.
An extended chapter also details how P.S.D.I’s ‘financing growth’ activities have helped improve funding for Pacific businesses, including through the creation of secured transactions frameworks, which facilitate lending using moveable property as security, in Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, the Marshall Islands and three other countries.
P.S.D.I works with A.D.B’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and support private sector-led economic growth.
P.S.D.I provides technical assistance and support services in policy and program development, advocacy, legislative and administrative reform, and capacity building.
Requests for P.S.D.I assistance continued to grow during the reporting period. The initiative’s competition program expanded into five new countries, and in Fiji all five of P.S.D.I’s core work areas began targeted support activities. Meanwhile, four pilot projects were initiated in P.N.G, Solomon Islands and Tonga under P.S.D.I’s economic empowerment of women program.
The report states that strong analytical work underpins the support offered by P.S.D.I, with the initiative publishing private sector assessments (P.S.As) for Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, and an evaluation of secured transactions reforms, in 2014-2015.
P.S.As for five more countries are being prepared as are analysis papers on digital financial services and credit guarantees, and the next edition of the Finding Balance state-owned enterprise benchmarking study.
P.S.D.I is co-financed by A.D.B and the governments of Australia and New Zealand. It allocated $6.2 million for its program over the 2014-2015 period, a 29% increase over 2013-2014.