Budget 2023-24

Real challenge begins now: Prasad

July 1, 2023 7:46 am

Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad says the real challenge starts now.

In his Budget address yesterday, Prasad says the six-month old Coalition Government walked into a grim state of affairs but the work now begins on economic recovery.

He says the past 10 years have been a decade of missed opportunities as there has been around three percent per annum economic growth, which is not enough to significantly improve lives and incomes.

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Prasad says poor revenue and spending for years, including the COVID crisis, have undermined the government’s finances and now left government deeply in debt.

The Finance Minister says over the last decade, $600 million has been spent on the Tertiary Scholarships and Loans Service, which was supposed to be a revolving scheme of repaid money for the next generation of students.

“It was not being repaid because they could not find jobs or paid low wages and salaries, and there was a mismatch in workforce needs and what our students were getting qualifications for.”

Prasad adds it remains a mystery how $120 million has been spent on the Walesi National digital platform.

He says Minister for Communications Manoa Kamikamica will lead an investigation into how the money was utilized.