14 Dec 2009

Increased Solomons budget reflects manageable debt level

8:08 pm on 14 December 2009

The debt management unit within the Solomon islands Government says an increase in the national budget is partly linked to successful efforts to keep debt to a manageable level.

The Parliament is this week debating the 251 million US dollar-budget for 2010.

The budget tabled last week by Finance Minister, Snyder Rini, is an increase of 630,000 US dollars on the 2009 budget.

Mr Rini told Parliament the budget would not need any borrowing because it could be sustained by domestic revenue.

The Regional Assistance Mission's advisor to the Unit, Matthew Wheadon, says debt arrears have been wiped out and national debt substantially reduced in recent years.

"Debt payments are consuming a much smaller portion of the national budget than what they were several years ago so the situation is much improved. It (the debt) is mainly owed to the multi-lateral corporations like Asian Development Bank and the World Bank - they're probably the biggest creditors. There's also a substantial proportion owed to the local banks here: Bank of the South Pacific, ANZ and Westpac."

Matthew Wheadon