Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

A policeman monitors traffic at the Sawani border last month. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FT FILE

The success of the “bold and innovative 2020-2021 National Budget” was overturned by the breach in COVID-19 protocols which resulted in Fiji’s second wave of the virus, states Dialogue Fiji.

In its submission to the Economy Ministry on the 2021-2022 National Budget, the civil society organisation stated in June 2020, Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum “delivered a bold budget in an extremely uncertain and difficult time”.

“The budget had an unprecedented deficit level and was premised on expectations that circumstances would improve by the next fiscal year,” Dialogue Fiji stated.

“The budget was successful in stimulating domestic demand and keeping the economy afloat through an appropriate level of State spending and helped maintain inflation and foreign reserves at adequate levels.

“Given the circumstances, the economy was doing relatively well despite losing its key sector.

“The turning point, however, was the breach in protocols at a quarantine facility which started Fiji’s second wave of COVID-19, clogged the domestic economy through lockdowns and relegated to the distant future hopes of being included in travel bubbles and of rejuvenating the crucial tourism sector.”

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