21 Aug 2013

Fiji Labour Party blasts IMF report on economy

3:19 pm on 21 August 2013

The Fiji Labour Party has blasted the International Monetary Fund, saying its economic summary of Fiji is seriously flawed.

An IMF team visited Fiji in the first two weeks of this month and met the government, academics, civil society and the private sector.

Among its findings were that Fiji has a stubbornly high unemployment rate of nine percent and a growth rate rising to three percent this year, boosted by bank borrowing and rising investment.

But the Labour Party claims overall unemployment is much higher at about 17 percent of the workforce.

It says it is difficult to accept the growth figures when key exports were down compared to 2011.

Labour says the report is based on figures provided by the government, which hadn't been independently verified.

It says the IMF mission has not considered the government's poor accountability record nor has it commented on massive write-downs on the Fiji National Provident Fund, and dire poverty levels.

The party says successive missions have neglected a host of concerns.