The economic and financial management of the Minister of Economy “the worst in history”


Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube said Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s performance in economic and financial management was the worst in history.

He made the comment when responding to statements by Fiji Airways Chief Executive and Managing Director Andre Viljoen on Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s economic management performance.

Mr Narube said the CEO’s accolades were a show of public appreciation for the Fijian government’s financial rescue package and his appointment as chairman of the Fiji Development Bank.

He said while the CEO was forced to make the right noises with the economy minister, his praise was misplaced, hollow and needed to be corrected.

Mr Narube said the CEO’s statements sadly reflected what was happening across the country due to fear and intimidation.

“Companies and individuals were singing false praise that the minister wanted to hear for fear of a backlash if they didn’t,” he claimed.

Mr Narube said poverty was already over 30% before COVID-19 hit Fiji.

“More than 45% of the population lived in poverty.

Mr. Narube said the sharp increase in the country’s debt level to 90% of GDP has been compounded by wasteful spending.

“Debt was already over 52% of GDP before COVID-19.”

Mr Narube said the economy minister had borrowed more than $300 million overseas last year to support foreign exchange reserves when it was not needed.

“He continued to waste taxpayers’ money on luxuries like heavily tinted vehicles worth $30 million a year.”

Mr Narube said the economy minister had refused to intervene on the rapidly rising cost of living, which was weighing heavily on the population.

Questions sent to Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on Thursday remain unanswered.


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