23 Oct 2009

Questions remain over Fiji quarterly surplus claim

1:17 pm on 23 October 2009

A professor of economics in Fiji says nobody can believe the interim government's reports of a fiscal surplus in the three months to September until the facts have been made clear.

The interim prime minister and interim finance minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says the third quarter yielded a surplus of 16 million US dollars while forecasts were for a 60 million US dollar deficit.

But Professor Wadan Narsey from the University of the South Pacific is questioning what part of the government's budget the savings are coming from and says there's been no auditor general's report on spending in the past two years.

"They claim they are making a fiscal surplus. No-one knows whether it's because they have reduced their recurrent expenditure or whether they've reduced their capital expenditure. And what we do know is that a lot of projects have been put on hold so the savings may be there. But we also know that the military and the police department seem to be spending quite freely and there may be in fact a lot of over-spending taking place."

Professor Wadan Narsey from the USP.