Narube slams A-G for recent statement

Savenaca Narube. Picture: RAMA/FILE

No amount of rhetoric by Fiji’s Economy Minister, who is not qualified to talk about the economy, should deviate us from the argument between facts, economic theories, and predictions.

This was the word from Unity Fiji party leader and former governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) Savenaca Narube in response to a statement made by the Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in a recent news conference.

Mr Narube said any rational person would advise the A-G that facts always speak louder than his words and applied his political optimism to the forecasts, which discredited them.

“This is a no, no, in making projections,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the RBF macroeconomic committee was made up of economists and people from RBF.

“They’re independent to what we do, and have spent a lot of time and resources to actually come up with these projections.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Mr Narube questioned the Reserve Bank of Fiji macroeconomic committee and used their projections when it suited him.

He also said Mr Narube was ignoring the IMF, World Bank, ADB, and even ANZ’s predictions for the Fijian economy to grow.

“Our macroeconomic committee has said growth by 11.2 or 11.3 per cent, whereas ANZ is saying that our economy will grow by 20 per cent.”

In response, Mr Narube said if one compared Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s economic predictions with the actuals, the economic projections of Unity Fiji would still be much closer to the actuals than his projections.

He said the risks were currently many and were with the recovery in tourism because of the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“We think that tourism will take five years to recover, the minister, as always, thinks that it will recover much faster.”

He reminded the A-G that the optimistic forecast of the ADB and the World Bank, as international bodies, relied a lot on the assessment of the countries themselves because of our local knowledge.

“If I was the minister, I would therefore be very worried if there were wide deviations between his and these institution’s projections.”

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