Government spent around $500m to rebuild resilient infrastructure
February 26, 2019 8:31 am
The Fijian government spent around $500million from 2016-2018, rebuilding a more resilient infrastructure.
This they say will spare Fiji considerable rebuilding costs over the long term.
This has been revealed in the International Monetary Fund 2018 Staff report.
While welcoming the report, Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in a statement says this is a major factor behind the increase in Fiji’s debt to GDP percentage to 50% in 2018.
Sayed-Khaiyum says if it were not for the impacts of severe natural disasters such as TC Winston, Gita, Keni and Josie, Fiji’s debt levels were projected to continue decreasing.
He says they fully endorse the report’s recommendation that they move towards fiscal consolidation.
The Minister adds their plan of fiscal consolidation has been clearly set out in the 2019-2020 budget strategy that has been approved by Cabinet and will be reflected in the 2019-2020 National Budget.
To generate private sector investment and activity, they will maintain their low tax regime, which remains the most attractive in the region as well as a stable interest rate and policy environment.
Sayed-Khaiyum says they will continue to improve tax compliance, closing additional loopholes in enforcement that have historically enabled financial leakages from the country.
He says they will also continue their efforts to diversify our economic mix to ensure sustainable economic growth and development.
He adds the report recognizes that Fiji’s gross domestic product sits at an all-time high and that from 2006 to 2016, Fiji’s debt as a percentage of GDP decreased from 53% to 47%.
Sayed-Khaiyum adds the report also shows Fiji’s nine straight years of economic growth and positive projections for the years ahead of decreasing inflation, lowering unemployment and high levels of foreign reserves.
He reiterates that over the past decade, these reports tell a consistent story of how the government has dramatically raised the capacity of the Fijian economy, responsibly managed national debt and diversified our economic mix, producing the longest stretch of economic growth in Fijian history.