Fiji Time: 12:49 PM on Sunday 23 November

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Business

Deficit concerns

Nanise Loanakadavu
Saturday, December 01, 2012

HAD the government not increased the budget by $182 million, deficit would be around 0.5 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), says permanent secretary for Finance Filimoni Waqabaca.

Responding to reactions raised at the Suva Chamber of Commerce and Industry post 2013 budget discussions at the Holiday Inn in Suva on Thursday night, Mr Waqabaca said there was a lot of talk through the media that this was an "irresponsible" government because of the deficit level moving into 2013.

Mr Waqabaca said the trend from 2000 to 2006 showed the average deficit was 3.5 per cent and from 2007 to 2013, the average deficit was 1.9 per cent of GDP.

"When we were designing the budget, we also watched what was happening abroad and if the impact of this global economic slowdown does come our way, the question is what do we do?" he asked participants at the forum.

He said other countries in the world had been encouraged to stimulate activity so that investment continued to move and business had their own opportunities.

"But we need to do that in a well-managed style without putting undue pressure on the deficit," he said.

"That is the reason why in order to stimulate economic activity in Fiji, we will focus on investment in the framework that we have been building on over the years," he added.

Mr Waqabaca said particular outcomes was that government wanted to generate sustainable growth and increase investment through increased investment and physical management.

"We have increased the deficit, higher than what we were planning for 2013 — a level that still can be managed," he said.