International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Growth has been strong in recent years and some moderation is expected, with risks skewed to the downside. High fishing revenues improved the fiscal position, but generated pressure to increase spending. There has been progress on fiscal and structural reforms. Yet, public spending needs are large, driven by an infrastructure gap and climate adaptation costs, and the country remains at high risk of debt distress.
This 2009 Article IV Consultation highlights that Fiji’s growth has been sluggish in recent years because of delays in economic reforms, worsening terms of trade, and political developments that have strained Fiji’s international relations and hurt business confidence. Fiji’s economy is expected to have contracted by 2½ percent in 2009, reflecting the adverse impact of the global crisis on exports and tourism. Recent developments have put considerable pressure on the budget. Executive Directors have supported a tight monetary policy to ensure that inflation returns to low levels and to protect foreign exchange reserves.
The Pacific island region has considerable potential for development, especially in the areas of tourism, fisheries, forestry, mining, and agriculture. However, these countries face many challenges to developing their economies and raising living standards, including their small size, distance from major markets, and vulnerability to natural disasters. The first half of this book provides an assessment of regional issues. The second half includes country-specific chapters, which provide an overview of each countries economic performance since independence and the main challenges ahead.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on the insolvency of the National Bank of Fiji (NBF). As of June 1995, an estimated two-thirds of its loan portfolio was judged to be nonperforming (7½ percent of GDP), with slim chances of recovery, leaving the bank with a negative net worth estimated at F$170 million. The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) raised concerns about the NBF’s lending practices as early as 1991, but it lacked the power to enforce a solution. The problems continued to grow until the NBF’s liquidity position finally became untenable in 1994.
This book, by Christopher Browne with Douglas A. Scott, reviews the economic progress that Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Western Samoa have made since independence. An overview of the region examines development strategies, external economic relations, the role of the private sector, and the evolution of financial structures. Seven country studies describe the main characteristics of each economy, analyze performance over the past decade, and provide detailed statistics suitable for cross-country comparison.