16 Nov 2004

Fiji's Labour party criticises soaring public debt

9:19 am on 16 November 2004

The Fiji Labour Party has criticised the country's soaring public debt levels.

Speaking in the budget debate in parliament, Labour's finance spokesman, Dr Ganesh Chand, said the public debt now stands at US$12,000 for every employed person in Fiji.

In contrast, he said, public debt stood at US$8,400 per employee in 2000.

Dr Chand said the figures are startling given that the latest government figures show that 61 per cent of employed people earn less that the poverty rate for urban households.

He said the Asian Development Bank had set the poverty line at an income of US$4,300 a year.

Dr Chand says given the low incomes and high public debt, the burden will be passed on to future generations.