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Debt level queried

Manasa Kalouniviti
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

OPPOSITION member on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Aseri Radrodro yesterday questioned the State's debt management for the year 2014.

During the Ministry of Economy's presentation to the committee yesterday, Mr Radrodro said Government debt should be kept at around 40 per cent of GDP which was the ideal or recommended level.

Responding to Mr Radrodro's comments, Ministry of Economy's director Debt and Cash Flow Unit, Sikeli Voceduadua said Fiji had an unblemished record in public debt reporting and the outlook remained positive.

Committee chairperson Ashneel Sudhakar said the State's GDP had increased at a larger rate than national debt up to 2016 and Fiji should be comfortable with its present debt level.

The 2014 Auditor-General's Report on the performance audit on public debt management stated that although actual government borrowings were above expected international fiscal targets of 40 per cent of GDP, they were still within the Government's annual forecast fiscal targets, and decreased gradually over the years.

"Government's borrowing need is determined in view of the current to medium term and is sustainable," according to the report. "The process in place to determine borrowing needs and its debt servicing requirements and the provision of funds to meet contingent liabilities are sufficient to ensure sustainability in the current and medium term. However, with public debt and contingent liabilities of government steadily increasing over the years, Government may have to reconsider debt management strategies to ensure long term sustainability."

The PAC was cha­i­red by Mr Sudhak­ar with Governm­e­nt members Alex O'­C­o­nnor and Mohammed Dean and Opposition members Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Mr Radrodro. Also in attendance were senior officers of the OAG and the internal audit team and presentation team from the Ministry of Economy.

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