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'All Fijians benefit'

Ropate Valemei
Friday, July 11, 2014

DURING the seven-year period from 2000 to 2006, the government had an average net deficit of 4.3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

According to the FijiFirst party, the largest deficit was 6.2 per cent in 2001.

In contrast, during the comparable seven-year period from 2007-2013 the Bainimarama Government recorded a lower average net deficit of 1.7 per cent of GDP.

Speaking at the party's campaign in Rewa on Wednesday night, party general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said parties who once led the government borrowed money for operating expenditures such as wages, salaries and every day expenses.

Unlike the Bainimarama Government, he said, they borrowed funds for capital expenditure such as building assets such as roads, bridges, hospitals, jetties, rural electrification and schools.

"The question is how much money do you borrow? In the way that you measure how much money you borrowed is the percentage of deficit on your GDP.

"We have borrowed far less money. But even when we borrowed money, we borrowed it to build things."

In 2005, he said the Qarase government borrowed money by raising $150million bonds for operational expenses.

"For a government, if we build something everybody benefits."

He said another reason the Bainimarama government had less debt was because "the Prime Minister is very mamaqi (very controlling) and keeps a very sharp check on it".

He said the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority also had been collecting more taxes.

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