PIDP'S HALAPUA CRITICAL OF PACIFIC LEADERS' ECONOMIC PLAN

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PALIKIR, Federated States of Micronesia (August 26, 1998 - Radio Australia)--- One of the Pacific region's leading academics says the economic action plan endorsed at this week's South Pacific Forum leaders' summit is unrealistic, and is creating false expectations.

The plan calls for major public sector cuts, and places the responsibility for economic growth with the private sector.

But the Director of the Pacific Islands Development Program at Hawaii's East-West Center, Dr. Sitiveni Halapua, said the plan focuses on capital growth and resource exploitation at the expense of the people of the Pacific region.

Aid donors are pressuring Pacific Island nations to meet unrealistic growth targets, Halapua said.

"If you only grow one percent per year, then that's it. Don't be apologetic about it; don't say sorry to the World Bank, sorry I've committed a sin. I've only reached one percent growth this year. Now I have to reform myself."

The Tongan economist added, "We have to move away from that, move away from that way of thinking."

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