This you can believe: Prasad now a politician

Critical indicators show economy much better than he wants you to think
Our economist turned politician Dr Biman Prasad (pictured) has had a lot to say on the economy. How much of that is true?
The former academic is now talking and acting like a negative attack politician in his role as leader of the National Federation Party. His attempts to loudly dominate TV debates smack of the desperation of a leader whose party is not polling well.

THE FACTS
So what are the facts on the economy?
Finding about a country’s economic stability is relatively easy. Everything is provided for and one just needs to research well and not necessarily be an economist.
The Fijian economy is forecast to expand by 3.8 per cent this year following a 3.6 per cent expansion last year. This will be the fifth consecutive year of positive growth, averaging 3.0 per cent (2010-14) which is above Fiji’s historical average of around 2.8 per cent (1970-2009). The major sectors contributing to the 2014 growth are construction; manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, financial intermediation, agriculture and information and communication.
Overall growth over the last two years has been supported by robust consumption and investment expenditure by households, businesses as well as Government.

Consumption
Major consumption indicators noted significant growth over the last two years and so far this year. Net VAT collections increased by 6.4 per cent in the year to May after an 11.1 per cent increase in 2013. Similarly, imports of consumption related goods were higher by 15.6 per cent up to May. A major turnaround has been noted in new lending for consumption purposes by the financial sector.
New consumption loans increased by 28 per cent (or around $316m) in the first half of the year following a massive 90 per cent increase in 2013 ($468m). Consumption activity has been supported by higher disposable incomes (lower income tax, higher social transfers, higher income tax threshold, and increase in civil service wages), higher inward remittances and overall improved consumer confidence.

Investment
Investor confidence has also shot up over the last two years as the domestic economy started showing signs of solid recovery and generous incentives by the Government. Investment expenditure was around 29 per cent of GDP in 2013, beating the Government target of 25 per cent for the first time since 1998. This year, investment expenditure is forecast around 26 per cent of GDP with the major contribution coming from the private sector ( 15 per cent) followed by Government at 6.0 per cent and Statutory bodies at 5.0 per cent. Latest investment related indicators support the forecast. New lending for investment purposes rose by 6.9 per cent (or $133m) in the first half of 2014 after increasing by a massive 109 per cent in 2013 ($251m). Domestic cement sales were also higher by 15.2 per cent in the first half of the year, supporting the forecast of higher contribution of the construction sector to GDP this year. In line with these developments, imports of investment related goods were higher by 15.2 percent during the same period.
Going forward, given that the investment outlook is expected to be driven by tourism and infrastructure related projects.

Government Spending and Debt
The Bainimarama Government had a more prudent fiscal policy with a much lower deficit of 1.7 per cent of GDP during the period 2007 – 2013. However, the deficit was much higher at 4.3 per cent of GDP in the comparable 7 year period between 2000–2006. Therefore, debt under the Bainimarama Government rose by less than $1 billion compared to $1.5 billion in the period 2000-2006. More importantly, had the Bainimarama Government spent $1.4 billion in capital expenditure as was spent between 2000-2006, his Government would have repaid debt by around $400 million. This means that it would not have to borrow any money but actually repay the debt taken by previous governments.

Credit Conditions
The improved appetite from consumers and investors has been well reflected in the surge in lending by the banks. Credit to the private sector increased by 12.6 per cent in June 2014 following a 9.2 per cent increase in 2013. Interest rates have also fallen to historical low levels supported by accommodative monetary policy by the Reserve Bank and ample liquidity in the banking system.

Inflation
Inflation has been on a downward trajectory this year after the introduction of the free education policy by the Government which has eased some burden from the consumers. Inflation was registered at 0.8 per cent in July. Indications are that inflation will continue to be on the lower side throughout the year.

Balance of Payments
Fiji’s balance of payments position remains healthy and stable. Foreign reserves held at the Reserve Bank are just under $1.7 billion and sufficient to cover above 4 months of imports. The Government, the FNPF and other institutions also hold significant reserves of close to $750 million offshore, bringing the total reserves to around $2.5 billion. The healthy level of reserves provides confidence in Fiji’s financial system and her ability to withstand external shocks.
It is almost among the critical indicators that we are in a far better place economically than Dr Prasad would have people believe.
JYOTI PRATIBHA
Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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24 thoughts on “

  1. Jyoti, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why one needs to dismiss the figures touted by the regime. You are one slut of a journalist to think that we are that stupid. Since this regime came into power none of these numbers have been through the proper rigor by right thinking bureaucrats. Now these (licksucking) bureaucrats are doing exactly what they’ve been told just like you, you bloody empty nut. Have the supporting source documents like govt audited financial statements been published since? Can the RBF explain why employment in the real sectors supposed to be driving growth have been going south instead? Inflation figures quoted can be very much a figment of imagination, especially when everyone actually feels the dollar being stretched further and further in their weekly shopping.

    So Jyoti take your facts and shove it up your sun don’t shine areas. We are not stupid. You slack cunt!! You insult our intelligence.

    Biman knows there are glaring holes in these figures and that only one who has access to the sources and underlying factors/assumptions can flesh it out.

    Go Biman go NFP!!!

  2. Has Jyoti Pratibah been able to peruse all of the documents that have not been released to the public? It is hardly likely. So where does she obtain her facts and figures from? A (illegal) government press release?

    How far can the Sun go in misleading the people? As far as it likes.

    The true state of economic affairs will only be made known when the figures are released publicly. I do not imagine that this information will be released prior to the elections.

    Lets just hope that FF do not win the election, so unethical and useless journalists like Pratibah will need to find new careers.

    What is Fiji’s current foreign debt? That is the billion dollar question.

  3. Since when Jyoti has become an economist? The figures are all cooked up figures by the regime lickers.
    How can one justify these figures in absence of a Auditor General’s report which has not been published since 2006?
    The level of poverty, cost of living and unemployment is at all time highest.
    The illegal government has no accountability and transparency.

  4. I request people like Veena Batnagar (FBC) and the likes of her to address the leader of NFP by Professor Biman Prasad.
    Do not call him by his name. He deserves to be called Professor Biman Prasad.

  5. The sale of Rewa Diary to CJ Patel subsidiary ( Southern Food) by the current government is illegal.
    Southern Foods which is owned by CJ Patel has got protection to import milk with zero duty on milk. The normal duty rate before the sale of Rewa Diary was 15% which was increased to 32%. Thus total protection is provided to Southern Foods.
    This company is now making millions of dollars while the buying milk and related products for the people has become next to impossible.
    Prior to the sale of Rewa Diary the price of 1 litre milk was $1.89 which has increased to $3.72 despite Southern Foods enjoying duty free entry of milk where they are making millions. The sale of Rewa Diary has caused the people to pay such a high price for milk. Similarly powered milk which was selling for $3.50 has increase to $6.95.
    This sale was illegal and the people cannot afford to buy milk.
    Why other companies importing milk has to pay 32% duty.
    This is unfair trading.
    The government should have played an active role to assist the dairy farmers directly. The cows that were imported from N.Z is neither helping due to the climate and other factors. Talk to the farmers.
    Now their is total monopoly by Southern Foods as far as the diary industry is concerned.
    All the sale of government owned asset is illegal.

  6. You can spend all your life away from Fiji and if you have acquired dual citizenship under Khaiyum’s Decree in 2009 you can vote in his general election; BUT if you are a Fijian citizen and had been away from Fiji for further study for 18 months, and wanting to stand against him in September election, you CAN NOT under his amended Electoral Decree

  7. Biman Biman Biman time for you to fly as your text book economist and portraying that the economy is bad is not heard.

    If the IMF is saying we are growing, then there must be some truth in it.

    M not an economist, but my grog drinking partner made a good observation. He said the sale of japanese secxond vehicles which has increased singnificantly validates that the middle income earners are growing.

    So biman and his average growth of 1.7% can go feed the cows.

  8. I heard Prof Biman say that poverty has grown to 45%.

    Does biman think we are stupid? Is he saying one in two people or every. Second is below the poverty line?

    Well if he has $2 miilion in assets, excluding his income from NFP and money deposited in NZ, then we are all poor relative to him.

    Biman should stop his lies. The indian people had enough of NFP.

    Biman should tell the people of fiji that he lost the 99 election and he will take NFP to the dogs.

  9. NFP”s latest candidate, Mr F koya, the former magistrate in Rakiraki may wish to tell the people of fiji the reason he was kicked out.

    He should also tell the people of how much side kicks ($$$$) he used to receive from those people who fronted him.

    Mr Victor lal and give some meaty details and so can some rakiraki residents

  10. Apart from Fiji times where Biman and big mouth kamal ear have some friendly reporters, the news at the ground is that NFP has not one rally apart the first one in LA that had more than 100 people in attendance. There average is around 15 excluding their officials.

    So it looks like biman will look for a new job while kamal ear will be in a yellow sulu in sukuna park

  11. The sodelpa candidate on TV1 out of the box programme made some blatant errors about what the IMF. He also said that revenue is $1.5b against expenditure of $2b.

    He should go check the facts as revenue is more than $2b this year.

    Maybe, he should check how much SDL borrowed before opening his mouth.

  12. MPC confided today to a businessman that its now the begining of the end for FLP.

    It will join NFP on the sideline.

  13. Attar and Raman pratap singh are in coalition talks with sodelpa. They are not happy with Biman and tupou.

  14. MCP and his love affair with SODELPA

    We shall run the country: I love you
    We shall make Ro the Prime Minister: I love you not
    We shall steal more money hide it overseas: I love you
    We shall make Fiji a Cristian country: I love you not

    Good bye Labour Party and sodelpa. You are finished even before the vote counting

  15. Tebbutt poll in today’s Fiji times makes interesting conclusion.

    FF will win the election.
    Sodelpa is the only other party secured to be in parliament.
    NFP, FLP, and others will not get 5% of votes
    The undecided or voters who did not reveal their choice are more likely to support sodelpa if they were itaukei and Ff if they were indo fijians.
    The 60% support to FF will end up close to 70% while the 15% for sodelpa would turn to around 30%.

    While the fiji sun poll is higher for PM, the Fiji times poll is lower.

    But they are consistent that FF will form the govt.

    Vinaka

  16. Too many press releases by NFP wanting to grab attention.

    Biman is not so smart as a politican. He should show some leadership and professionalism appearing on TV shows. My itaukei friends said that he shot himself calling for a debate with AG. He looked like a first year student against the master.

  17. Protests expected for Bainimarama
    07:41 Sat Aug 9 2014
    AAP

    Fiji’s self-appointed prime minister Frank Bainimarama has dodged media on his arrival in New Zealand.
    He is in Auckland to campaign to local Fijians ahead of his country’s first elections since he came to power in a 2006 military coup.
    A protest is planned to coincide with Mr Bainimarama’s talk at Manukau’s Vodafone Events Centre on Saturday – and posters advertising the protest label the leader a “dictator”.
    Media at Auckland Airport for his arrival on Friday were told the Department of Internal Affairs was facilitating his entry and he would not make any public appearances on arrival, Fairfax reported.
    The leader of New Zealand-based group Coalition for Democracy in Fiji, Nikhil Naidu, has questioned the rationale of Mr Bainimarama’s trip and said it could be a sign someone else may win the election.
    The National Federation Party and the Soqosoqo party – which Mr Bainimarama overthrew – have also been in the country campaigning ahead of the September 17 election.

  18. When the foul smell began emanating at the start of the article it was finally traced down to the regime licker cum journalist joti at the sign off. Its no surprise that biased reporter stories always have that tinge of ridiculousness in their coverage and obvious strong leaning towards their bias. By appearing on the talk back shows hosted by regime mouthpiece FBC he is taking on the whole cast of the broadcasting company on his own as can be seen on the ambush type attacks on him by the FBC panel. But he appears to come out of it quite unscathed. On the subject of economy I will trust my bottom dollars on a veteran qualified economist to give me the overview of the economy than a naive biased journalist.

  19. And Fiji times is biased against FF supporting NFP as its leader and kamal big mouth is licking the female journalists.

    And by the way, you can choose not to read fiji sun or listen to Fbc.

    NFP is Never For People (just for the rich).

  20. Wow I can’t believe the large turnout at Auckland rally where PM turned up.

    As a NFP supporter, I have to admit that FF and sodelpa are the front runners.

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