VANUATU'S FINANCIAL STABILITY RESTORED: MOLISA

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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (PACNEWS/RNZI)---Vanuatu's Finance Minister, Sela Molisa, says financial stability has been restored despite both internal and external economic crises.

The Minister made the assessment when he presented the Government's budget for next year, which will continue to show a deficit.

Molisa says revenue is projected to be in excess of US$ 57 million while expenditures will surpass the $ 59 million mark.

This leaves a budgeted deficit of US$ 1.8 million dollars in 1999, but the Minister says the following year the budget is expected to be balanced.

Expenditure on education is to rise by eight percent while health care spending is to be boosted by three percent.

Molisa says the early pay-out of funds from the Vanuatu Provident Fund, following the riots in Port Vila in January, has been the biggest internal problem.

He says interest rates were forced up, but pressure on foreign reserves has now eased.

Molisa says if the budget is implemented, the measures set out in the Vanuatu Government's Comprehensive Reform Program will result in economic growth.

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