Biman: We need billions to fix infrastructure

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Prof. Biman Prasad makes his way for his speech during the launch of the new mixed-use development on Naisoso Island – Sorena Naisoso at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Friday, February 24, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Government will need billions of dollars to fix infrastructure, water and health facilities over the next few years, says Fiji’s Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad.

And while he indicated that there was room for government borrowings, it was also vital to have clear package of policies that would allow sustainable growth and sustainable debt levels.

“We are not saying that the government is not able to borrow at this stage,” Prof Prasad said.

“This is what we are saying, and all the international organisations are saying the same thing, so it’s not just me.

“The World Bank is saying the same thing, the IMF is saying the same thing, and all of them are concerned, we are concerned how to sustain the debt level.

“That does not mean that right now we cannot borrow anything because as I said, we will need billions of dollars over the next few years to fix our infrastructure, water, health and all this.”

Pro Biman said the clear set up of policies would allow the government to set up a solid foundation that could better determine proper debt level management and debt reduction.

He mentioned that there was already large borrowings and the government is trying to cut down on further borrowings.

“Right now, the debt level is high, right now we are experiencing the economic recovery.

“And what we are saying is that we can’t just keep on borrowing as we have been doing in the past.

“So we have large borrowings and we are trying to cut that down. That does not necessarily mean that we cannot borrow at all.”

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