30 Jan 2003

Fiji government may have mini budget over Cyclone Ami

5:10 pm on 30 January 2003

The Fiji government is likely to go to parliament with a mini budget to provide relief and rehabilitation for victims of Cyclone Ami which ravaged the country's north and east just over two weeks ago.

This has been disclosed by the prime minister Laisenia Qarase, as he announced that the bill for the relief work to the state alone is likely to be more that 13 million US dollars.

Mr Qarase says going to parliament for more money is the obvious option but the govenrment has not yet worked out where the supplementary funds would come from.

He says cabinet has already decided that all ministries should draw on their existing budgets for funds to cover their cyclone requirments.

But, he says, despite this the government's economic strategy would continue to focus on an economic growth rate of 5.7 percent of Gross Domestic product for the country this year.

Meanwhile, Mr Qarase says the government has already helped over 91,000 cyclone victims with some relief out of a total population of 141,000 in cyclone affected areas.

He says housing rehabilitation is expected to cost 2.3 million dollars and damage to schools another 1.7 million dollars.