Former AG challenges government's debt reduction claims

January 17, 2024 4:30 pm

FijiFirst member Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Former Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has contested the government’s assertion of debt reduction, stating that despite an overall increase in debt stock, there have been no significant developments to justify the growing financial burden.

Speaking out against the government’s claims, Sayed-Khaiyum provided insights into the nature of the debt and its impact on the nation.

He highlighted that the announced $500 million, made by Prime Minister Rabuka, was allocated for interest payments and financing, not for the reduction of the total debt aggregate.

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“I raised this point because I was making the refinancing, eventually not paying off the total aggregate of the debt stock. Rather, it is simply carrying on with the same debt stock. So, it is incorrect for the government to say that through these payments, the overall debt stock was being reduced or give that impression that it’s being reduced.”

Sayed-Khaiyum contested the government’s claim of debt reduction, revealing that the overall debt stock is projected to increase by another billion dollars by the end of the current financial year.

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Expressing concern, he argued that the increased debt has not been accompanied by visible and substantial capital investments.

He highlighted that the ongoing infrastructure upgrades, including road resurfacing in areas like King’s Road, Vatukarasa, Sovi, Namada, and Yako, were initiated through contracts signed by the previous government.

Sayed-Khaiyum’s remarks challenge the narrative of debt reduction put forth by the current government, raising questions about the allocation and utilization of funds and the lack of tangible developments corresponding to the increased debt burden.

FBCNews has sent questions to Deputy Prime Minister Professor Biman Prasad and is currently awaiting a response.