20 May 2010

Fiji democracy lobby urges IMF to decline loan request

9:07 am on 20 May 2010

An alleged plan by Fiji's interim government to lobby the International Monetary Fund for half a billion US dollars has prompted the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement to write a letter urging it not to grant the loan.

The IMF visited Fiji in April to discuss proposed economic reforms, holding talks with the interim Prime Minister as well as donor agencies and business people.

The democracy movement says a recent Fiji Sun article quotes Commodore Frank Bainimarama as saying the intention of the loan is to finance wholesale reforms within the government departments.

The movement's president, Usaia Waqatairewa, says for the IMF to grant such a loan would be absurd and irresponsible.

"It concerns a lot of us who are sort of keeping in touch and who are much familiar with finance and economics that this is such a humungous amount and will take generations to pay back. Just to give you how big the impact is, the annual Fiji national budget is about 1.3 billion so we're looking at the total 12 months budget of the country."

Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement's president, Usaia Waqatairewa.