31 Jul 2006

Fiji government rules out immediate pay cuts

6:27 pm on 31 July 2006

The Fiji government says it can't immediately cut the take-home pay of public servants to revive the ailing economy.

The Reserve Bank has warned the government it must reduce its operating costs to prevent any further interest rate rises.

Its views are echoed by the Chamber of Commerce, which says the government must act soon to avoid a financial crisis.

But the acting finance minister, Tom Vuetilivoni, says the government's not entertaining the idea of public service pay cuts.

He says that before the general elections in May the government agreed to public service pay increases of some 235 million dollars and it can't renege on that agreement.

"We'll have to honour that agreement. We offered this cost of living allowance, but that agreement takes into account that there won't be any more cost of living allowance demand by the unions for the next three years."

Mr Vuetilivoni says the government is however focussing on diversifying exports and reducing debt levels to 3.5 per cent of the GDP.