24 Nov 2006

Fiji's Reserve Bank to further tighten monetary policy

11:56 am on 24 November 2006

The Reserve Bank of Fiji has warned of the need to further tighten monetary policy to protect foreign reserves because of recent political uncertainty.

The bank's governor, Savenaca Narube, says that the current political uncertainty is posing significant risks to growth, investment and jobs.

Mr Narube says safeguarding economic stability is paramount because without it, economic progress will falter, investment which has been rising will dry up and many school leavers will not be able to find jobs.

He says tourism has been the engine of Fiji's growth but the uncertain political environment is scaring away investors and tourists.

The reserve bank governor says the uncertainty is seriously undermining efforts to stabilise the economy, let alone pursue further growth.

He has stressed the need for Fiji to reduce the widening gap between imports and exports which has come about because of increasing imports of consumer goods and mineral fuels.

Mr Narube says while the cost of fuel is beyond Fiji's control, it can and must do something to depress demand driven imports of consumer goods.

He says credit growth has been extremely buoyant but recent monetary policy changes are filtering through to commercial banks' interest charges which are rising.