3 Mar 2007

Fiji's interim admin slashes spending across board

11:09 am on 3 March 2007

Fiji's interim administration has slashed spending across the board covering almost all ministries and departments in an attempt to reduce public debt.

In his revised 2007 national budget announced yesterday, the deficit has been cut to 2% of Gross Domestic Product, down from almost 5% in recent years.

The allocations for education, health, the military, police, poverty alleviation, roads and infrastructure have all been reduced.

But there are increases for agriculture, water supply, disaster management and weather forecasting as well an increase in pensions for war veterans.

The interim finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the budget will be a bitter pill to swallow for some but it had to be tough given the dire state of the economy.

Although some people are blaming the coup for the financial crisis, Mr Chaudhry has blamed the policies of the deposed SDL government for borrowing more and more money to finance operating expenses.