22 Nov 2006

Australian report says little good news in study of Pacific economies

9:08 am on 22 November 2006

An Australian Treasury Department report says Fiji is among Pacific countries which have squandered 75-million US dollars since independence though poor governance.

And it says most of Australia's Pacific neighbours are economic basket cases in long term decline and mired in corruption.

The Fiji Times quotes the report as saying countries that have squandered as much as Fiji are Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

The Treasury Department report says while Fiji, Tonga and recently Samoa have performed better, many of the risks facing Pacific countries are widespread.

It says PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have had no real economic growth in the past 20 years.

And average incomes in PNG and Solomon Islands are only marginally above 500-US dollars a year, which is the level of sub-Saharan Africa.

A World Bank assessment of corruption in PNG and Solomon Islands has placed the two countries in the worst 25% of offenders.