Deputy Prime Minister Professor Biman Prasad says much of his time is spent on troubleshooting and firefighting, trying to manage Government’s limited finances on a daily basis.
Speaking in Parliament this morning while delivering his ministerial statement, Minister for Finance said there are now demands for spending, more so in the health sector – Fiji is now paying the price for poor planning, unsound investment and lack of maintenance.
Prof Prasad said human lives depend on health spending and Government cannot compromise – so much of what we are spending our money on seems to be reactive, ‘hand to mouth’ economic management.
“Better planning would have saved millions. And this is what we must now do. This is one legacy of the former government that we have to grapple with within the current budgetary provisions.”
Prof Prasad said the Ministry of Finance together with relevant stakeholders is now holding public discussions about the country – to public debt.
He said this is being done on a more open and freer environment.
The Deputy Prime Minister highlighted in Parliament that Government debt is 85 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.
“This is well above the safe level of between 40 and 50 per cent. And the coalition government is not the only one worried about it. Global institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are also urging us to deal with it.”
“We were in this unfavourable position – because in the last decade Government finances were managed poorly,” he added.