25 May 2010

Fiji IMF loan needed to pay off other debt, says academic

3:08 pm on 25 May 2010

Fiji's interim administration is likely to need a massive IMF loan it has been chasing in order to pay off some of the huge debts due later this year.

The interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has told local media 90 percent of negotiations to borrow up to 500 million US dollars are complete.

The Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of the South Pacific, Biman Prasad says there are debts worth about 250 million US dollars due to be repaid by the end of next year.

He says the government does not have the resources to pay those amounts so it will probably have to make further savings to fit IMF lending requirements:

"But in the process there will be a lot of pain, when you cut civil service in an environment where the private sector is having very sluggish growth, where the economy overall is not growing then you are putting people out of jobs, you are cutting services and invariably the poor and vulnerable will be affected the most."

USP economist, Biman Prasad.

The IMF's latest country report says there are considerable downside risks amid some growth.

It says the outlook remains highly uncertain due to political developments, the volatility of commodity prices, the risk of natural disaster and what it calls a complex structural reform agenda.