Innovative debt white paper launched

February 23, 2024 4:06 pm

Suva City [File Photo]

A first-of-its-kind debt white paper was launched earlier this week in collaboration with civil society organizations and focuses on providing recommendations to policymakers on matters of debt servicing and climate financing for Fiji.

Coordinator of Pacific Network on Globalisation, Maureen Penjueli, says the main reason for this white paper is to address Fiji’s debt level.

She says debt levels have become an issue globally, particularly post-pandemic.

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Penjueli adds that in recent years, Fiji’s debt level to gross domestic product has been relatively high when compared to the size of the countries.

“But in Fiji’s context, the scale or size of Fiji’s debt, which at its peak in 2022 was about 91 percent of GDP, is quite significant for a country of our size.”

Penjueli states that what Fiji and the rest of the Pacific need is finance that is accessible.

“So the white paper is an attempt to bring in a very substantive work by civil society for policymakers to look at specifically for Fiji, and how do we look at this very high level of debt, which even though the current government has bought down to 80 percent, but that will be into the foreseeable future, still remains quite high.”

She says that this report can also offer other Pacific island countries the opportunity to look at debt profiles for their countries and how they respond to the debt of their own countries.

The ideas for this report were conceived last year with consultations from local economics experts such as Prof. Waden Narsey, Savenaca Narube, and Dr. Janesh Sami, to name a few.