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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Nov. 5) – The Fiji Finance Minister has told parliament that economic growth in the country next year will decline from an earlier-predicted 4.2 percent to just 1.5 percent.

He also said that growth in 2006 will drop to 0.7 percent because of the loss of the U.S. garment market and because of declining sugar revenue.

Fiji Labor Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said the forecast, offered in the context of the country’s 2005 budget, is an admission by the government of the failure of its economic policies and its failure to provide sustainable growth in key sectors.

Chaudhry says 5,000 people will lose their jobs in the garment industry alone and growth in tourism won’t be able to offset these.

He says Fiji needs sustained growth of at least 6 percent for the next five years to address the serious economic and social problems the country is facing.

November 8, 2004

Radio New Zealand International:


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