Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Govt will borrow to fund priority areas

Acting Prime Minister Professor Biman Prasad says Government will only borrow if there is a need to finance critical gaps – this is to finance key priority areas only.

In a press conference, the Minister for Finance said this will only be determined if the expenditure is more than the revenue collected; however, the strategy is to bring down public debt, which is the focus the Government is putting out to everyone.

Prof Prasad said Government is trying to adopt a sound fiscal consolidation strategy, which focuses on two things, revenue collection and its expenditure.

He added that while there isn’t a need to take it more debt now, the Government might in the future.

“We want to ensure that we cut wastages, look at priority areas, while at the same time maximise revenue collections. But this is not always the case, there isn’t enough revenue to undertake all the expenditure.”

“If there is a need to borrow to finance critical areas, then we will need to borrow,” Prof Prasad added.

The Minister for Finance also indicated that Fiji’s public debt stands already at $9 billion, more than 80 per cent of Fiji’s Gross Domestic Product.

He said Government needed to be mindful of anything it does, in terms of revenue, expenditure, in terms of key priority areas, in terms of additional borrowing or additional request for budget support – which all should be within the strategy framework of the Government.

“… That in the short-term, midterm and long term that we progressively bring down the debt level.”

The Acting Prime Minister indicated that the $400 million tax rebate for filmmakers to come and shoot in Fiji, he said this, are the kinds of wastages that we are looking to offset.

He said the initial investment into the set-up and running of Walesi; this was something that we did not need also.

Prof Prasad said the upcoming budget announcement would clearly demarcate Government’s initiative and plans for the country.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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