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State approves proposal

Luke Rawalai
Wednesday, February 12, 2014

CABINET has approved a debt relief proposal to pay the $5million debt incurred by bankrupt northern road contractor Blacktop.

And creditors, who submitted claims to Fiji Roads Authority for consideration, would be notified in the next four to six weeks.

FRA CEO Neil Cook said over the past two months, they carried out independent verification to determine the validity of claims by creditors who had been owed money by Blacktop.

"The relief package targets sub-contractors and other local suppliers of road building materials and services," Mr Cook said.

"As noted on many previous occasions, Blacktop left debts in excess of $5million in Fiji, both in the North and on Viti Levu.

"This is a significant relief package being initiated by government through FRA and the verification process has been very robust with independent financial advisors undertaking careful analysis of every claim."

Mr Cook said they were confident of a positive result once the matter was settled with creditors.

Mr Cook earlier said the debts had forced the FRA to pay an excess of $3m to local suppliers and subcontractors that were owed money by Blacktop.

"These were the same companies that have been awarded the contract for road upgrading in the Northern Division.

"The time it takes to undertake this verification process is not ideal for those creditors but we can assure them that notifications will start coming through over the next few weeks."

The approval was given in December last year.

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