2019-2020 National Budget: Ex-RBF boss calls for a ‘responsible’ budget

Former RBF governor Savenaca Narube. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU/FILE

GOVERNMENT will announce its budget today and a former official has called for a “responsible” budget.

Former Reserve Bank of Fiji governor and permanent secretary of finance, Savenaca Narube said an ideal budget for the government would address macroeconomic problems that Fiji faces which are the lack of jobs, excessive government spending and increasing debt.

“These issues cannot be solved in one Budget, but Government can start to rebuild confidence in its financial management by recognizing these challenges and, more importantly, doing something to address them,” Narube said in his opinion piece on the 2019/2020 Budget.

“To me, the most pressing issues are improving the quality of government spending and getting value for taxpayers’ money. Government must reduce operating expenditure which is nearly $2 billion. This is not easy as 44 per cent of operating budget is payroll.

“But it can be done by severing what I call populist expenses which include freebies like fuel consumption. I calculate that these expenditures may amount to more than $400 million. At the same time, Government should drop ineffective programs that are not meeting their aims. This may amount to another $300 million. The Government must also eliminate waste. A full review of the effectiveness of the Fiji Road Authority must be undertaken.

“The savings from all these measures can be substantial.”

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