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Optimism builds up

Torika Tokalau
Saturday, April 19, 2014

FINANCE permanent secretary Filimoni Waqabaca believes the recent positive announcements by two statutory bodies indicate the state of Fiji's economy and reflects the optimism that is building up.

An Information Ministry statement revealed the Reserve Bank transferred $39.9m to government comprising $31.9m as its profit and $8m representing the re-evaluation reserves account as per RBF Act.

Right on the heels of this announcement, Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority revealed it had surpassed its first quarter target by $39m and collected a total of $431.13m in income tax, value added tax, customs duties and other taxes.

"The ministry for its part has had a very vigorous first quarter with more than $100m paid to service both external and domestic loans," Mr Waqabaca said.

"This was in the form of $66.4m for domestic and $36.3m for external loans that was due for servicing in the first quarter and constitutes to around 37 per cent of the total due cumulative to June."

He said bonds floated in the market had raised $101.2m, which was 40 per cent of the total that needed to be raised in 2014.

"Government borrowings are primarily channelled towards revamping the productive capacity of the Fijian economy in terms of infrastructure development mainly intended to unlock depressed regions to ensure economic development and inclusive growth."

RBF governor Barry Whiteside said the improved profit was achieved in a challenging global environment, "as the returns on foreign reserves, which are the principal source of income for the Bank, continued to be affected by very low interest rates in our major trading partner economies".





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