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No plan for extras

Ioane Burese
Friday, March 01, 2013

THE economy is on track despite the shock it received at the end of 2012 as the quick diversion and re-pooling of finances has resulted in part of the estimated $70million-plus damage already financed from existing funds.

And with more than $20m already accessed through the unused funds from the 2012 budget to finance the immediate needs after Tropical Cyclone Evan, Finance Ministry permanent secretary Filimoni Waqabaca said there were no plans to put through a supplementary budget to complete rehabilitation works.

"We were able to do those redeployments within government budget, we were not going for supplementary budget to Cabinet to try and give us more than what was given to us and what the minister (for finance) had announced in his budget speech for 2012," Mr Waqabaca said in a statement.

Since the cyclone, there have been questions about whether the economy would grow according to government's projections of more than 2 per cent.

"The assessment is at this stage that we are not going to achieve the 2 per cent growth but we are still confident that despite those disasters we will still be attaining 2.5 or just slightly lower growth but definitely the 2 per cent growth," Mr Waqabaca said while rebutting negative predictions by the Asian Development Bank.

He said after TC Evan, sectors such as education, health and infrastructure needed immediate assistance and funds that were not utilised by ministries and departments last year were diverted towards this.

With the good feeling set in by Moody's revision of Fiji's rating from negative to stable and with prudent management of budgetary funds, Mr Waqabaca said Fiji was well on its way to achieve its growth predictions. In its January review, the Reserve Bank predicted the domestic economy was expected to expand by 2.7 per cent led by agriculture, manufacturing and financial intermediation sectors.





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