Narube blames MP salaries for expense surge

June 13, 2024 6:50 am

Unity Fiji Party Leader Savenaca Narube has forecasted a 17 per cent increase in the government’s operating expenses for the upcoming budget.

Narube claims this surpasses the expenses of the previous administration, blaming the Coalition government’s decision to raise the salaries and allowances of Members of Parliament.

The former Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor highlights that while civil servants’ salaries have stayed the same since this administration took office, the overall wage bill has grown due to political appointments.

Article continues after advertisement

He points out that this budget may see a five percent increase in the total government salary bill.

However, he claims that most, if not all of this increase went to politicians rather than regular civil servants.

“My calculation puts a debt rise in the deficit of 1.4% compared to the last budget. For this budget I estimated it will be around 1.4% because of the rise in parliamentarian salaries alone. And net deficit are always computed as a percentage of GDP because that gives you the impact that will have on the economy.”

Narube expresses concern about the uneven distribution of funds, predicting that this trend will significantly impact operating expenses.

The Unity Fiji Party Leader warns that this financial imbalance will worsen Fiji’s debt.

Narube believes that it will be hard to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio from over 80 per cent to a more manageable 40 per cent.

He predicts that the government’s debt reduction efforts will face extra challenges and will delay the path to financial stability.

He also notes potential ripple effects, suggesting that other civil servants unions may demand pay increases.

This, he says will cause a chain reaction that could affect prices, productivity and exports.

Narube estimates that by the 2026 elections, MPs will have allocated $25 million to themselves.

This, he adds further highlights the long-term economic impact of the MP’s salary hike.

Meanwhile, in a statement released yesterday afternoon, the Reserve Bank of Fiji downgraded Fiji’s economic growth forecast to 2.8 percent from the 3.4 percent projected in November last year.