3 Dec 2013

Fiscal challenges for the Pacific increasing in 2014

11:00 am on 3 December 2013

The Asian Development Bank says Pacific nations need to strengthen their financial management systems to deal with increasing fiscal pressures in 2014.

The ADB Pacific Economic Monitor predicts public spending for post-cyclone recovery in Samoa is likely to drive up debt levels, and in Fiji, election-related spending may challenge efforts to keep fiscal deficit in check.

It says debt is likely in Papua New Guinea as it increases public expenditure to counter the effects of slow economic growth, and East Timor's fiscal surplus is expected to diminish due in part to to declining petroleum revenues.

A senior economist, Christopher Edmonds, says Pacific nations need to continue with efforts to strengthen public financial management systems and use of aid money.

"There is this issue about how efficiently Pacific countries use the aid that they're given, and there do seem to be clear opportunities to improve public financial management to get more bang for the buck in these countries."

Christopher Edmonds of the ADB.