SUVA, July 16 (Xinhua) -- The Association of Banks in Fiji said on Thursday that there will be more discussions on how banks can help businesses severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to cushion the problem on the island nation.
According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) on Thursday, the Association continues to encourage those that can, to keep up with payments, because interest will accrue for deferments.
The Association of Banks Ppresident Saud Minam said that there will be an announcement from banks and regulators on how to support customers in need.
He said that many customers that were on reduced hours or were unemployed as a result of COVID-19 are worried.
"I did have a meeting with a lot of our customers and they are all worried. I think we as individuals across, we all should be worried about what's going to happen and how fast we can get out of this. These are the questions that everyone has and I think that's the question we need to answer. The only way to answer it is if we work together."
Suva Retailers Association President Vinay Kumar said that members have been advised to be innovative and find alternatives to get through the pandemic.
"We can not rely on the government to do everything for us. We also have to start thinking out of the ordinary and start doing things which you can see is happening already. There are people opening up stalls and selling from the streets and things like that. These are the things that never happened before."
Without knowing for certain how long COVID-19 will continue to affect the Fijian economy, Minam said it is crucial for the government, public and private sector to work together to overcome this crisis.
The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) said last month that the Fijian economy is anticipated to contract severely this year with sector performances significantly weak due to the implication of COVID-19.
According to a RBF statement, the Fijian central bank Governor Ariff Ali said that recent partial indicators for consumption and investment continue to point to falling aggregate demand while overall labour market conditions have worsened with continuous job losses.
Given the weak economy in Fiji, domestic credit has slowed further and the number of non-performing loans has risen, he said, adding that the financial system continues to be assessed as sound, underpinned by solid capitalization and liquidity ratios.
Commercial banks' cost of funds has generally fallen owing to the high levels of excess liquidity. Enditem