28 Feb 2006

Fiji government rejects criticism of borrowings for national debt

10:31 am on 28 February 2006

The Fiji government says it is working to reduce the level of consumption, or operating costs, in the national debt.

The chief executive of the prime minister's office, Jioji Kotobalavu, says the government would also like to increase the level of capital expenditure and put more funding into infrastructure projects.

He was speaking after the head of the School of Economics at the University of the South Pacific said that the US$1.5 billion national debt was unsustainable.

Mr Kotobalavu believes that criticism is unwarranted.

"When they talk about unreasonable, high level of borrowing, they need to take into account what exactly are these. Are they for pure consumption or are they for improving the wellbeing of people and promoting growth in the economy."

Mr Kotobalavu says the figures include government guarantees for the multi-million dollar EXIM bank loan to the Fiji Sugar Corporation with the aim to reform the sugar industry and improve productivity.