Fiji-Australia signs agreement for additional budget support

Fiji’s Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes at the agreement signing in Suva today - Friday, June 11, 2021. Picture: FIJI GOVT

Fiji and Australia have signed the second amendment to the Fiji Recovery and Resilience Budget Support Program that grants Fiji an additional $40.9million (AUD$26m) to support the island nation’s COVID-19 relief initiatives.

The agreement was signed between Fiji’s Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes in Suva today.

According to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, the Government had signed an initial funding arrangement of $35.53m (AUD$ 22.5m) with the Australian government.

From that, he said $31.59m (AUD$20m) was channeled as budget support for social welfare payments, and $3.95m (AUD$2.5m) was provided as general budget support.

He said since January this year, this funding had supported the Fijian Government in maintaining social welfare allowances for more than 37,000 people.

“Fiji, in April 2021, signed the first amendment to the initial arrangement to include an additional grant of AUD$35m (FJD$55.1m) for the general budget support. This brought total funding under the overall funding arrangement to AUD$57.5m (FJD$90.81m),” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was quoted saying in the statement.

“The second amendment raises the total value of the Funding Arrangement for the Fiji Recovery and Resilience Budget Support Program to AUD $83.5m (FJD $131.87m) to be utilised in the current (2020-2021) financial year and partially in the coming financial year (2021-2022).”

Mr Feakes said: “In recognition of the impact COVID-19 has had on Fiji, Australia is today providing direct budget support because we are confident in the Fijian Government’s public financial management systems and because we are stronger together.”

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