2019/2020 National Budget: Fijian Government presents $3.8bn budget

ECONOMY Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum presented a $3.8 billion budget for the 2019/2020 financial year to Parliament last night revealing a cut in expenditure for most ministries but four.

It is a reduction from the $4.6b budget presented for the current financial year, with the minister opting for cuts in both its operating expenses and capital investments.

The actual cost of running the government for the new financial year is estimated to be about $2.5b compared with $2.7b last year.

Of this amount, the salaries and wages of civil servants make up 41 per cent or around $1b.

The cost of paying civil servants in the current financial period is estimated at $991m.

Capital expenditure has reduced from $1.8b to $1.2b.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum explained the reduction in the capital expenditure was because of the completion of rehabilitation works after the storms of Winston, Keni and Geeta in the last three years, the trio leaving behind a bill of $500m.

But the move as he alluded to in recent weeks was also because of the government’s effort of fiscal consolidation — reducing its deficit and debt levels.

The net deficit or the shortfall of the 2019/2020 budget is estimated at $349.2m or 2.7 per cent of all the goods and services we produce (GDP).

The value of all goods and services we will produce during this financial period is estimated at $12.7b.

When including our debt repayments of $255m due in the financial year, our gross deficit is about $604m.

Government has allocated $1.4b worth of projects under requisition, which means they will need the approval of the Ministry of Economy.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum explained to a workshop of journalists recently that all projects valued under $1m do not need the approval of the minister but the permanent secretary of the ministry.

All projects above $1m will need his approval.

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