Government’s 2003 Budget today will be delivered against a background of dismal budgetary performance and gross financial mismanagement during the year, the Fiji Labour Party said in a pre-Budget statement.
As at September 30, the Budget deficit stood at $180 million and was expected to rise substantially by year-end.
Expenditure on capital works was only $121 million against a budgeted provision of $283 million— belying government’s claim that its 2002 Budget was expansionary.
Revenue had declined with direct tax collection down by 21%. It stood at $193 million against a budget forecast of $244 million.
Government borrowed locally, in nine months through bond issues, a total of $220 million of which $153 million was used to repay old borrowings. An additional $21 million was raised through overseas loans during this time.
The Fiji dollar continues to depreciate against the currencies of our major trading partners. This has made investors uneasy as has continuing concerns over political instability, uncertainty over land lease issues, high levels of corruption in government and the deteriorating law and order situation in the country.
Declining export revenues from sugar and the manufacturing sector is a further negative factor hindering economic recovery.
It is clear from present trends in the performance of the 2002 Budget that government finances are in a seriously bad shape.