$US1.7 billion- Fiji Govt reveals Budget

Saturday 18 July 2020 | Written by RNZ | Published in Small World


$US1.7 billion- Fiji Govt reveals Budget
The front of Fiji's parliament buildings in Suva. Photo: RNZ / Jamie Tahana

Fiji's government has projected a $US1.7 billion National Budget for the 2020-2021 financial year.

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum also announced a $US930 million stimulus package to fund the country's recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Khaiyum said the deficit will be steep - at 20.2 percent - pushing the debt to GDP ratio to 83.4 percent.

But he said the costs of doing nothing were far steeper.

"The government has worked with its financial sector to restructure over $US1.6 billion in loans, freeing businesses and families from mandatory monthly loan repayments," Mr Khaiyum said.

He said 86,000 Fijians had accessed relief payments from their pension fund (Fiji National Provident Fund) in phase one of unemployment benefits and another 26,000 were accessing relief payments in phase two.

"Over $FJ62m has been paid out to the affected Fijians, with the government stepping in with around $F12m to top-up accounts to ensure that full payments were delivered to all who qualified," Mr Khaiyum said.

He said the third phase of unemployment relief would be funded by the government with another $US9.3m.