9 Mar 2016

Fiji growth down to 2.2%

6:51 am on 9 March 2016

Fiji is still expecting economic growth this financial year despite the devastation caused by Cyclone Winston but it has revised its forecast down to just over two percent.

The country was expecting a 3-point-7 percent growth rate before the Category 5 cyclone hit, flattening whole villages and killing 43 people.

Fiji's Minister of Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says there will be an enormous impact on budgets and he has urged banks not to hold back in helping out, particularly those involved in the tourism industry.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum who was speaking to tourism operators says he hopes to see advertisements soon from the banks which have come up with unsecured loans.

He says the US$69 million that was allocated for new capital projects in the recent budget will need to be stringently monitored and some funds will be diverted to rebuild vital infrastructure.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says repairs to the 20-thousand homes which have been damaged or destroyed could amount to US$28.5 million.

He says up to $14 million could be spent on social welfare payments and more than $7 million could be spend on feeding people for a month.

Bridge works on the Kings Rd near Tavua Fiji

Bridge works on the Kings Rd near Tavua Fiji Photo: Alex Perrottet/RNZ