8 Oct 2003

French Polynesian economy minister rejects deficit claims

11:46 am on 8 October 2003

French Polynesia's economy minister, Georges Puchon, has brushed aside critics alleging that last year's budget was passed in deficit.

Opposition politicians had earlier claimed about 100 million US dollars were missing from public accounts.

Mr Puchon says the 2002 budget was balanced, although it relied on 6.5 million US dollars in loans.

He also denied claims that French Polynesia's overall debt was near the one billion US dollar mark.

The borrowed funds were aimed to enable the territorial government to finance its drive to boost public structural and infrastructual investments such as ports, roads airports, fisheries and health.