6 Nov 2004

Fiji Labour Party says budget is doomsday measure

8:36 am on 6 November 2004

The Fiji Labour Party says the government's 2005 budget is a doomsday one which warns people of severe economic problems and tough times ahead.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the budget is an admission by the government of the failure of its economic policies and its failure to provide sustainable growth in key sectors.

The finance minister has told parliament that growth next year will decline from a predicted 4.2 per cent to just 1.5 per cent.

He adds growth in 2006 will be only 0.7 per cent because of the loss of the US garment market and declining sugar incomes.

Mr 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 six per cent for the next five years to address the serious economic and social problems it faces.