FIJI MILITARY RECEIVES ADDITIONAL FUNDING

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 4, 1999 - PACNEWS)---The Fiji Government has agreed to inject US$ 2.23 million into the cash-strapped Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF).

The additional funding was announced by Minister for Home Affairs Paul Manueli, who said the funds would be used to purchase goods and services, cover travel and communications, and maintenance of vehicles.

Manueli said the military earlier was given much less than the amount requested. "In the last budget, they had asked for FJ$ 63 million (US$ 32.76 million), but were only given FJ$ 49 million (US$ 25.48 million). We have to make do with whatever we get, but this is not always enough to cover all costs," he said.

Manueli said the cost of training, feeding, clothing, and providing equipment for the soldiers was far more than budget allocations permitted.

"The management of funds in the army is improving and that is why other ministers felt sympathetic towards the army when we asked for funds this time," he said.

Asked why the funds had been approved so close to the elections, Manueli said he had been busy for the past four months processing the army's request.

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