Suva, FIJI – July 31, 2020: 2:13pm (FBC NEWS): Fiji’s 2020-2021 national budget has been passed in Parliament Thursday after four days of robust discussion.
The 2020-21 Appropriation bill 2020, bill number 13 of 2020 was read a third time and was passed by acclamation.
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum moved the third reading in which the bill for an act to appropriate a sum of over $3.2 billion (US$1.5 billion) for the ordinary services of the government for the year ending 31July 2021 bill number 13 of 2020 enacted the Parliament.
Speaker of the House Ratu Epeli Nailatikau thanked members for their contribution.
â€œHonourable members, Parliament has now passed the 2020-2021 national budget. As I had alluded to earlier, the weeklong budget process is essential and vital for Parliament to fulfil its constitutional obligation. On that note, I take this opportunity to thank all members for your contributions during this integral process.â€
The Speaker also thanked the Minister for Economy for the preparation of what has been labelled an extremely bold budget.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF)says the build-up in non-performing loans could impact financial stability moving ahead.
RBF Governor Ariff Ali says the economy is operating well below potential with ongoing weakness in the labour market as a result of job losses and reduced hours.
The RBF says credit growth decelerated further last month with low lending rates to the private sector, however, there is high liquidity of around $786.1 million (US$369.7 million) as of Thursday.
Annual inflation came in negative for the ninth consecutive month and reached a historic low of -3.5 percent last month.
Ali says the halt in global travel has brought Fijiâ€™s important tourism sector to a standstill and negatively impacted the broader economy.
The Reserve Bank also recognises that the increased budgetary allocations are expected to positively nudge consumer and business confidence and stimulate domestic demand.
Foreign reserves are currently just over $2.1 billion (US$1.05 billion) as of today, sufficient to cover 7.7 months of retained imports of goods and services. (PACNEWS)