18 Jul 2005

Fiji says growth in overseas remittances giving exporters 'breathing space'

11:12 am on 18 July 2005

The Reserve Bank of Fiji says the rate of growth in remittances from overseas workers is extremely strong and increasing.

Bank figures confirm Fiji received 1-hundred and 84 million US dollars in remittances last year, an increase of 23 per cent, making it the biggest jump for three years.

The Reserve Bank governor, Savenaca Narube, attributes the increase to the deployment of Fiji citizens for peacekeeping and security duties in the Middle East.

Mr Narube says much of the income goes to churches, villages and provinces, helping to alleviate poverty and improve education standards.

He says inflows of personal remittances provide much needed foreign exchange reserves, which he says are essential to pay for Fiji's growing imports.

Governor Narube says Fiji's foreign reserves are holding up extremely well despite the sluggish performance of the country's commodity exports and the continuing surge in imports.

He says the rising remittances have given Fiji some critical breathing space as the country looks at ways to raise exports.