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Reserve Bank of Fiji announces measures to counter predicted recession
11:30 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2020, Fiji

The Reserve Bank of Fiji says the Fijian economy is currently in unchartered waters and headed for a recession this year and has announced measures to assist Fijians.
 
Governor Ariff Ali says due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world, this has led to the shutdown of the tourism activities and transmitted significant negative knock-on effects to the broader economy.
 
He says while with measures adopted by the authorities and the general population will lead to the drop in consumer spending and government revenue, there is a need for this to happen to avoid longer-term social and economic damage.
 
The central bank will expand its Natural Disaster and Rehabilitation Facility to include businesses affected by epidemics/pandemics and be renamed the Disaster Rehabilitation and Containment Facility.
 
Ali revealing that the total allocation for this facility has been raised to $60 million (US$30 million).
 
All businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can access funds under this facility through their respective commercial banks, licensed credit institutions or the Fiji Development Bank at an interest rate of up to a maximum of five percent.
 
He says how long this situation continues to affect us will depend on the duration and the spread of the pandemic, which continues to unfold.
 
Ali adding financial conditions remain accommodative with ample liquidity, stable interest rates and modest credit growth and the reduction in interest rates and various other reprieve measures announced by commercial banks’ to assist customers should support businesses during this downturn.
 
Annual inflation was registered at a historic low of -3.0 percent in February while foreign reserves were around $2,228.2 million(US$957,000) as at 26 March, sufficient to cover 5.7 months of retained imports of goods and services.
 
The overnight Policy Rate remains at 0.25 percent.
 
More measures will be announced by Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in the supplementary budget tonight.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS


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