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A-G Praises Role of RBF, Opposition Replies

A-G Praises Role of RBF, Opposition Replies
Acting Prime Minister and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum outside Parliament on April 18, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
April 19
11:00 2018

Acting Prime Minister and At­torney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the country’s impressive economic performance is largely attributed to various well-designed policies and reforms intro­duced by the Bainimarama and the FijiFirst Governments.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Re­serve Bank of Fiji (RBF) contrib­uted directly to the unprecedented economic growth the country expe­rienced by ensuring the monetary policy objective remained intact and that ensured financial stability in the country.

He said the RBF played a vital role in the Fijian economy and the dual monetary policy objectives were sta­ble inflation of price stability and ad­equate foreign reserves.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said since No­vember 2010 the RBF had accom­modated and maintained monetary policy stands in support of econom­ic growth in support of economic growth because its objectives were intact.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said as a result average lending rates declined to his­torically low levels supporting lend­ing and economic activity.

He said the RBF continued to be vigilant on economic development and would align policy accordingly guided by the RBF Board.

He said the vigilance was embedded in the role that the RBF played.

In response, while he acknowledged Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s statement on the RBF, Opposition spokesperson for Economy and SODELPA MP Aseri Radrodro said he was not too con­vinced with all that had been said.

Mr Radrodro said the RBF’s vision was to help build Fiji a strong econo­my and provide confidence. However, in his opinion, RBF had become the Government’s “propagandist” to a large extent.

“While we cannot generalise such statements against RBF official, we can certainly raise eyebrows at the way some are in senior management positions today and for example gave slanted public RBF forecasts in the media prior to the confirmations of the positions which they hold today,” he said.

Mr Radrodro raised another issue stating that the RBF was unprec­edented when it asked the nation to trade the old Fijian coins and notes for new ones.

He said many lost the value of that money overnight when they could not change it.

Mr Radrodro said this was imprac­tical and questioned the silence of the Commerce Commission and the Consumer Council at the time, who were expected to be representing the people.

He said it was important to impress upon the RBF to be independent and accurate.

“It is imperative that they are,” Mr Radrodro said.

He added that the public deserved to know the real status of the economy as pictures presented by the RBF con­tradicted what was happening on the ground.

National Federation Party (NFP) leader Biman Prasad shared similar sentiments as Mr Radrodro stating the importance of the independence of reserve banks in any country.

He said he agreed the job of the cen­tral bank was to worry, but worry from an independent position.

“It should be transparent, it should be accountable. The Reserve Bank’s perception to the people of this coun­try must be one that should make the Reserve Bank appear to be thorough­ly independent,” Mr Prasad said.

Edited by Epineri Vula


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