11 Oct 2010

Economist says remittances from abroad are keeping Fiji economy afloat

2:25 pm on 11 October 2010

A Professor of Economics at the University of the South Pacific, Wadan Narsey, says payments from Fiji people living overseas are keeping the economy afloat.

Professor Narsey has been analysing the Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics' Household Income and Expenditure Survey for last year.

He says the country received about 160 million US dollars, in real terms, in remittances last year - more than the value of the sugar industry.

But he warns income from security guards, care-givers and migrants abroad is not assured.

"These remittances are coming from security guards working in the Middle East and unfortunately because of the military coup, the Americans and the British are not all that keen to hire more of the Fiji military as security guards and for peace-keeping."

Professor Narsey says remittances are mostly benefiting Fiji's urban middle classes and latest figures show more than 40 percent of rural dwellers are living in poverty.