A-G hits out at claims

A-G Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Puicture: FT FILE

ATTORNEY-GENERAL and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum hit out at claims made by Social Democratic Liberal Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka in an Australian documentary.

In a press conference last night, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the comments by Mr Rabuka, which was aired last week on Fiji’s relations with China were not true.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum admitted that the Fijian Government owed money to various banks including the Asian Development Bank, International Fund for Agriculture Development, World Bank, Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA), and Exim Bank of China and a Global Bond.

However, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum clarified that Fiji only owed 35.7 per cent debt to the Exim Bank of China.

“If you take this external debt which is approximately 30 per cent of our total debt exposure, and as we have said we have always maintained our 30-70 mix — 70 per cent is our local debt and 30 per cent is foreign debt. If you take that percentage of the Chinese debt, then the total percentage of our debt is only 10.6 per cent,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said out of a 100 per cent of Fiji’s domestic and foreign debt, only 10.6 per cent was money owed to the Exim Bank of China.

“If we’re to look at foreign debt which is 30 per cent total debt, 35.7 per cent is debt owed to the Exim Bank of China,” he said.

“What happened is that Sitiveni Rabuka just to probably get some air time with 60 minutes and become very unpatriotic, and his lack of patriotism meant that he has gone to ’60 minutes’ to say we owe astronomical money to China. “When the facts are that only 10.6 per cent of the total debt exposure is to the Exim Bank of China.

” While being interviewed in the documentary, Mr Rabuka claimed Fiji was selling its soul for our comfort.

Referring to a new multiplex complex being constructed by a Chinese company in Suva, he said Fiji needed developments, but not a high rise one that was being developed.

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