Fiji is continuing to grapple with the economic downturn and effects of COVID-19 as the latest Reserve Bank of Fiji economic review says job vacancies continue to decline, government revenue is down, spending is down and government debt stands at $6.86 billion. The RBF’s latest Job Advertisement Survey says the total number of job vacancies fell annually by a significant 82.6 percent in January, driven by reduced recruitment intentions across all major categories.
Government recorded a net deficit of $545.8 million in the first six months of the 2020-2021 financial year.
Total government revenue collections (excluding asset sales) fell by $557.7 million from a year ago but was higher than budgeted revenue for the same period due to higher-than-expected grants and tax collections.
In the same period, total spending fell by $195.6 million compared to a year ago and was also lower than budgeted by 23.7 percent.
The RBF says given the better-than-expected performance in the first six months, the net deficit for the current financial year is now expected to be much lower than budgeted.
At the end of January 2021, government debt stood at 73.2 percent of GDP or $6.86 billion, of which domestic debt constituted $5.08 billion, while the total external debt is $1.78 billion.
Commercial banks’ new lending fell by 14.3 percent in January on an annual basis, but increased by 12.8 percent from December 2020.
Current liquidity levels remain sufficient at $896.5 million.
Foreign reserves are around $2.2 billion, sufficient to cover 6.8 months of retained imports of goods and services.
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