Australia grants $81m budget support

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad shake hands with Acting Australian High Commissioner Stuart Watts after the signing. Picture: FIJI GOVERNMENT FACEBOOK PAGE

Australia has provided $81 million to Government as its budget support contribution to Fiji’s 2023-2024 National Budget.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Professor Biman Prasad thanked the Australian Government for its continued support, and said the funds would be significant in meeting the budget requirements and commitments.

He said the Coalition Government faced a significant challenge ahead in meeting the heavy commitment of debt repayment.

“We are going through a very clear fiscal consolidation strategy and are working on a budget that will tread a fine balance between fiscal consolidation strategy, revenue strategy and expenditure strategy,” Prof Prasad said.

“We have to understand that we are still transitioning from post-COVID scenario where our people are restoring their incomes, loss of jobs and we see this opportunity in the budget as a significant opportunity for us to continue with the recovery.”

Acting Australian High Commissioner Stuart Watts said Australia had provided about $290 million in budget support over the past three years and acknowledged the Vuvale Partnership between the two countries.

“As we together navigate our recovery from the devastating impacts of COVID, I want to acknowledge Fiji’s support for Australia’s own recovery efforts post-COVID and the natural disasters that have affected our nation,” Mr Watts said.

“This budget support would not have been possible without the many positive reforms the Government of Fiji has and continues to undertake.

“The Government of Fiji and Australia negotiate a range of ambitious reforms in the areas of public financial management, private sector led economic recovery and enhancing climate disaster and social resilience.

“I commend the Coalition Government’s appetite to undertake such an ambitious reform initiative and successfully complete it.”

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