World Bank Says Fiji's Debt Level Is 'Manageable And Reasonable'

$2.4 billion debt is smaller as percentage of GDP than previously

By Filipe Naigulevu

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 17, 201) – Fiji's debt level — about $5 billion [US$2.4 billion] by this July — is manageable and reasonable, World Bank resident representative for the South Pacific Lasse Melgaard said.

However, the bank is interested in Fiji's National Development Plan, which it said would be an important document highlighting Fiji's priorities and key areas of focus.

"That also creates continuity even in a time of an election and you still have your country's goals and your targets which you want to meet despite the fact that you are in an election year," Mr Melgaard said.

Mr Melgaard, who recently arrived in the country to head the bank's new hub for the South Pacific, said Fiji's debt situation was manageable compared with other developed nations.

But he stressed the need to recognise where the borrowed funds were being used.

"I think it is important also to recognise that it's not always a bad thing and it depends on what you're borrowing for and what you are investing in," he said.

"Obviously if a country had debt levels where we could see there was no way the economy could service it, I think we'll raise alarms or certainly suggest to governments to look at restructuring their debt, but we are nowhere near that in the case of Fiji."

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, during several 2017/2018 National Budget consultations, had highlighted that while the country's nominal debt had increased, debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) had decreased.

Fiji Times Online.
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