13 Feb 2007

Fiji interim finance minister promises budget to hold deficit to 2 per cent of GDP

10:34 am on 13 February 2007

Fiji's interim finance minister says the emergency budget to be brought down early in March will stabilize the country's finances and ensure that the deficit stays under 2% of Gross Domestic Product.

Mahendra Chaudhry has also rejected criticisms that the military takeover is to blame for the current financial crisis.

Mr Chaudhry says the nation already knows that the current levels of poverty and joblessness are the legacy of the deposed SDL government and the country was heading for economic disaster before December 5th.

He says from 2000 to 2006 poverty levels rose from 23% to 36% while another 25% of the population hovered close to the poverty line.

Mr Chaudhry says the March emergency budget will aim to stabilize finances by slashing almost 120-million US dollars of state expenditure to make sure the deficit stays under 2% of GDP.

He says all sectors will have to take a cut but the administration will ensure that the poor are the least affected.