14 Nov 2005

Fiji opposition questions government view of economy

2:55 pm on 14 November 2005

Fiji's opposition leader has called on the government to stop painting a rosy picture and tell the truth about the country's economy.

Radio Legend reports that Mahendra Chaudhry made the call while speaking on the 2006 Budget in parliament today.

Mr Chaudhry said people are being fed a highly optimistic picture of an economy on the rebound when a Recent Asian Development Bank report warned of a serious slump from 2005 to 2007.

He said there is a growing view which is not without merit that the nation is being deliberately hoodwinked by statistics that have been doctored to give a positive picture.

The 2006 Budget has revised upwards the earlier economic growth forecast of 0.7 percent for next year to a new figure of 2 percent.

Mr Chaudhry said no reliable statistics are available because neither the Reserve Bank nor the Bureau of Statistics have any confirmed figures beyond 2002.

He said the Reserve Bank's latest report issued this year is still using provisional figures for 2003 and 2004.

Mr Chaudhry claimed that the figures in the 2006 Budget have been fabricated and the government is trying to conceal the truth about the economy to save itself from embarrassment.