Fiji’s debt-to-GDP was below 50 percent between 2013 and 2019 – Seruiratu


Opposition Leader Inia Seruiratu. [Image: Parliament of Fiji]

Opposition Leader Inia Seruiratu has called on the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance to stop misleading the country when he highlighted during the national budget address that when they came into Government they inherited a large public debt and a chaotic fiscal situation.

While giving his response to the national budget address in Parliament, Seruiratu says prior to 2012, Fiji’s debt-to-GDP ratio hovered at around 50 percent and between 2013 and 2019, the GDP ratio was below 50 percent, and coming down to as low as 43 percent in 2015.

He says there was a slight rise in 2016 as a result of Cyclone Winston, and in fact, they were managing very well until the advent of COVID-19.

The Opposition Leader says Fiji recorded its strongest period of GDP growth in the decade leading up to COVID-19, underpinned by rising productivity and investment, improved political stability and a booming tourism sector.

He adds, however, the shocks of COVID-19 and a series of natural disasters, such as Tropical Cyclone Harold and TC Yasa, have been devastating for Fiji’s economy, bringing widespread production disruptions and job losses.

Seruratu says the increasing frequency of these weather events, has also complicated Fiji’s economic development strategies and plans.

He says Fiji’s real GDP declined by 15.2 percent in 2020 and is estimated to have contracted a further 4.0 percent in 2021, with the long-term ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy yet to be fully seen.

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