Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says the 2023-2024 National Budget is intended to consolidate Government’s finances in the medium term, while at the same time reduce the deficit.
Debating on the content of the National Budget in Parliament today, Rabuka said it is necessary to make changes to protect the nation from uncertainty that we are faced with today and possible future shocks.
Rabuka said the budget aims to address the high debt level, minimize wastage, adding resources to priority areas and sectors of Government and allow our people access to basic services.
He said Fiji’s deficit has been brought down to 4.8 per cent compared to 7.8 per cent for the current financial year.
“Despite the reduction in the deficit compared to the last three years, more work is necessary to further reduce our deficit to a desirable level of at least or below 4 per cent of Fiji’s Gross Domestic Product (GPD).”
“There is a need to make necessary changes to protect our nation… structural adjustments, policies to improve efficiency and productivity. We must be relevant, adaptable and competitive in the global environment that Fiji is in<” Rabuka said.
The Prime Minister highlighted that no Government is able to give its people everything they want.
Rabuka said Government’s resources are scarce and limited and they needed to prioritise based on the current needs.
“This budget is intended to help Fijians out of this crisis, we knew we would have to be contended with when we made it to Government as a Coalition.”
He said the budget has some grim areas and is designed to help as many poor and needy as possible – Also to give release to students burdened with the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS).
Rabuka added that the budget is also intended to improve and boost investor confidence – It is critical that we must all come together to address the common challenge in rebuilding the nation.
“There is no doubt that Fiji must make some hard decisions that will not be pleasant or easy for some of our people.”