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Increased revenue strategies hoped to outpace expenditures

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 6, 2012) – Fiji’s government aims to reduce national debt in the medium term by implementing strategies which include prepayment of expensive loans, reducing fiscal deficits and maintaining an efficient market for government securities, according to acting permanent secretary for finance David Kolitagane.

Speaking at the recent Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Business Forum, Mr. Kolitagane explained that in general, expenditure continuously exceeded revenue over the past four years.

"Over the years, expenditures have generally exceeded revenue collections. However, in 2008; there was a marginal increase in revenues compared to government spending. This was largely attributed to subdued spending in both capital and operating expenditures," he said.

Mr. Kolitagane also revealed that the net deficit for 2011 was expected to register close to $238.1 million which equates to 3.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

However, government's planned strategies are expected to reduce this for 2012 with revenue forecast at FJ$2,078 million [US$1.2 billion] as opposed to an expenditure allocation of FJ$1,943 million [US$1.1 billion]. This should result in a budget deficit of 1.9 per cent of GDP.

"The lower deficit level for 2012 is in line with government's efforts towards fiscal consolidation and the same time rejuvenating investments and economic growth. There is a trend for total revenue and expenditure gap to narrow further by the year 2014," said Mr. Kolitagane.

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