NEWS

2019-2020 National Budget: Bainimarama Boom

Hitting out at Social, Democratic, Liberal Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka’s comments at an earlier press conference where he foretold of the economy collapsing, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the disaster of the National Bank of Fiji collapse would not be repeated.
08 Jun 2019 12:16
2019-2020 National Budget: Bainimarama Boom
Government Building in Suva.

The country was reminded last night that it is not Sitiveni Rabuka at the helm steering the country’s economy, but Voreqe Bainimarama.

Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, while delivering the 2019-2020 national budget, said the Bainimarama Boom during which Fiji has seen ten straight years of economic growth showed that the country was in good hands.

Hitting out at Social, Democratic, Liberal Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka’s comments at an earlier press conference where he foretold of the economy collapsing, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the disaster of the National Bank of Fiji collapse would not be repeated.

“In his supposed “warning” Honourable Rabuka went on to claim that government expenditure should be 20% of GDP and revenue should be 15% of GDP. During his entire term as Prime Minister, his government came nowhere near to achieving those figures – with expenditures hitting highs of over 30% and average revenues of 25.6% of GDP. But his hypocrisy didn’t end there. He then implied that the government should run a deficit of 5% in this budget. Five per cent, Hon Speaker. He’s made a call for greater levels of debt for Fiji, while warning of the dangers of expansionary spending, all in the same breath.

“Hon Speaker Honourable Rabuka clearly hasn’t taken any lessons from his own disastrous economic blunders that began the vicious cycle of Fiji’s inter-generational debt. Debt that was subsequently mismanaged and worsened by the governments that followed. Until, Mr Speaker, this government finally said: enough was enough. Until this government finally brought fiscal discipline and prudent management to our economy,” he said.

A productive Fiji:

“Mr Speaker sir, tonight, we further the realisation of a vision of empowerment, people-first policy-making and innovative problem-solving. A vision that prioritises the prosperity of our people today and protects the wellbeing of generations to come. A vision set out by our Honourable Prime Minister and set in motion by the responsible and practical management of our economy.

“Tonight, that vision enters its second evolution, led by a future-facing budget that builds on the unprecedented achievement of the Fijian economy and looks ahead with confident expectations and ambitious aspirations. It is a budget that paves the way towards even greater triumph, for our economy, for our businesses, and for our people –– and ensures resilient progress in a changing climate and a changing global market, he said.

While delivering a prudent budget where operating expenditure of Government received a cut while capital expenditure was kept in line with expectation, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said building a strong economy meant having a more productive society.

“Since 2009, the Bainimarama Boom has more than doubled the size of our economy. A boom in employment has put 100,000 more Fijians in jobs. 100,000 more women and men who can go to work, earn a pay check and provide for their families –– driving national unemployment to a 20-year low of 4.5 per cent. And booming private sector investment has built new homes, hotels, offices, residential buildings and shopping centres, while historic public spending has built a national network of high quality infrastructure and reliable essential services.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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