20 Jun 2013

French Polynesia admits to grim financial situation

6:49 pm on 20 June 2013

The French Polynesian government says its financial situation is catastrophic, making it difficult to pay its bills.

Its spokesman, Nuihau Laurey, says since 2004 the government's debt has grown by 50 percent to just under one billion US dollars.

Mr Laurey says day-to-day bills can only be paid once revenues are in, delaying payment from the usual 35 days to more than 50.

He says fiscal reforms are to be unveiled next week amid expectations that France will help following talks scheduled in Paris next month.

The president, Gaston Flosse, says it is not known how the debt can be paid off.