Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum
Fiji last borrowed from the Chinese government in 2007, and this debt has been repaid.
Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted this while speaking to students at the Fiji National University Derrick Campus in Samabula.
A student asked Sayed-Khaiyum if he could guarantee that Fiji will be economically secure in the coming years, given its debt portfolio, and if Fiji has pending loans in China.
The student from Nakali village in Tailevu says it scares him to think about the economic crisis now facing Sri Lanka as a result of its huge debt to China.
“I think we are in the same scenario now because we normally take loans from these Chinese banks. So the question is, if you can assure us the system that is going on regarding the debt, like in 10 to 30-years’ time, if you are not in government with the same mindset, same team that is controlling the economy, we will not be like those people there who are looking for food to eat because they lent the money in 2010, but now they are suffering.”
Sayed-Khaiyum in response, says certain politicians continue to mislead Fijians regarding Fiji’s debt status.
He says Fiji borrowed from China in 2007 to construct the Nadarivatu Dam, and that this was paid back in 2012.
Sayed-Khaiyum says if Fiji was in a bad position, its partners would not provide budget support.
“The figures are here. All these figures that I have are all variably. They are not done by me. I don’t sit in a room and go, “Hihihi, I’m going to calculate this.” “These are third party validations, from the World Bank and IMF, so if you look at our foreign reserves, Sri Lanka foreign reserves are down here at finish kapoot.”
Sayed-Khaiyum says it is the role of government to ensure there is no starvation.
The Minister adds Fiji’s economy is expected to grow by 11.3 percent this year.