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Govt borrows for politics: Prasad


May 23, 2022 01:33:53 PM

Govt borrows for politics: Prasad National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad claims the Government has been borrowing for politics and not economics.

Prasad made this statement while responding to comments of the Permanent Secretary for Economy Shiri Gounder about borrowing $900 million at very low interest rates during the pandemic.

He said the Government has borrowed more than $6 billion during its 15 years rule, escalating the national debt to over $9 billion.

“There is no lasting economic benefit achieved in the last 15 years that will benefit our future generations,” he said in a statement.

“The only milestone or legacy of this government is leaving behind a debt-ridded nation where every Fijian is burdened with approximately $10,000 debt.

 “We have about $9 billion worth of debt. The Government has also guaranteed the borrowing of companies like Fiji Sugar Corporation and Fiji Airways and other Government entities.

“There is another $1.1 billion dollars there, added together the Government’s borrowings are close to 100 percent of the gross domestic product.

“This is dangerously high. It means that for the first time, the people who lend to us will be worrying about whether or not the Government can pay back the debt,” he said.

He said the growth in the economy as claimed by Government has not been real as it has been fuelled by debt.

“It has been borrowing so that it can boast that there is economic growth. But the growth has not been real. It has been fuelled by debt and this is not sustainable,” he said.

“What the Government is not talking about is the investment we need to make to grow our economy and improve incomes.

“This will be our biggest economic challenge in the next ten years because we still have to borrow money. And there is no room left for us to borrow.

“If we cannot improve our power and water systems, we cannot expand our cities and build the new houses, factories and other buildings we need for our economy to grow,” he said.

He said the Government has failed to invest in critical areas like education, health and utilities that is why life is so hard for ordinary people now.

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka

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