27 Oct 2004

Nauru government makes sweeping changes to help pay its way

2:07 pm on 27 October 2004

The newly elected Nauru Government has made sweeping changes aimed at helping it pay its way.

President Ludwig Scotty was returned unopposed yesterday after Saturday's election gave his supporters 15 of the 18 seats in the Assembly.

A state of emergency in force for the past three weeks was lifted with the president's election.

It had been put in place after the government failed to pass its budget for the current year.

The new Finance minister, David Adeang, says it has now been passed and a key feature is the attempt to cut government spending by reducing public sector salaries.

"We are providing for no less than 50 dollars per fortnight for public servants but up to 100 dollars per public servant commencing in the next fortnight. At the same time we are undergoing a thorough review of the public service salary scales, which should be taking into account the government's ability to pay."

Mr Adeang says they are also raising import duties and requiring scholarship students to pay some of their costs.

The minister says, as well, the government will no longer pay for elite students to be schooled at exclusive Australian colleges.

He says they will be able to attend schools in Fiji.