SIWATIBAU SLAMS FIJI FISCAL POLICIES

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SUVA, Fiji (May 17, 1998 - Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Former Fiji Reserve Bank Governor, Savenaca Siwatibau, says lack of discipline and sound monetary policy contributed to losses in the National Bank of Fiji, the Fiji Times reports.

Mr. Siwatibau highlighted the loss of more than F$200 million ($US102 million) at the state-owned bank as an example of the result of poor financial management.

He said this during an interview at the 26th Fiji Institute of Accountants annual congress in Nadi at the weekend.

Mr. Siwatibau said Fiji could learn from the Asian economic crisis.

On the second national protest planned for June 2, he said the country would have a negative growth and social problems would worsen.

"There should be a clear dialogue between the government and unions," Mr. Siwatibau said.

He said the government had to explain its plans to ensure a positive response from the country's citizens.

"When things are explained clearly, people may come to the party. I know we are doing it, but it needs to be done better."

Mr. Siwatibau supported the decision to devalue the dollar. He said the decision would bring long term benefits.

"Overall, we need discipline, we need to watch our external sector, have a sound monetary policy, proper management, watch our exchange rates and avoid over borrowing," Mr. Siwatibau said.

"We need the political will to implement these policies and a proactive approach.

"If we do these [things], we will notice changes in our economic survival; improvement in the coming years will be greatly advanced.

"It can be done by ourselves, but that's the challenge for each one of us," Mr. Siwatibau said.

Title -- 1366 ECONOMY: Siwatibau slams Fiji fiscal policies Date -- 17 May 1998 Byline -- Staff Reporter Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Fiji Times, 17/5/98 Copyright -- Fiji Times Status – Unabridged

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