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Fiji's Reserve Bank Governor says the level of the foreign reserve is linked with the level of liquidity in the system.
Ariff Ali says liquidity is currently hovering around $7.2 (US$3.3 million) million.
He adds in the next couple of weeks liquidity might rise to $1 billion (US$500 million) therefore there should be no upward pressure on the interest rates.
“I would think that banks should start reducing their lending rates as well. Given that banks will have a large number of funds to lend out, a billion dollars, on one hand, they take deposits they can’t be keeping it in reserve bank because we don’t give interest. Sooner or later they will lend so hopefully we will see some pickup in the commercial banking rates to support the economy given some of the incentives announced in the budget.”
The Governor also revealed that Inflationary pressures remain contained and the inflation rate has been negative since October last year as prices of food, kava and fuel have fallen over the year.
Meanwhile, the government is working with Fiji Airways and is offering $60 million (US$30 million) to stimulate demand and attract tourists back to the country.
Fiji Airways has been selected to set-up and lead the Bula Bubble Campaign, which will offer attractive Fiji holiday packages to Australian and New Zealand visitors.
Through the packages the hotels must reduce their rates by at least 45 percent and the airline will also reduce their rates.
Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted that as per the package people will be able to pay now and travel later which will help Fiji preposition itself.
“So we have allocated $60m so from the government’s side we will pay $400 (US$200) per tourist that enters Fiji under the package. It’s for the first 150,000 tourists.”
The Minister says looking at the uncertainties due to the pandemic tourists can even defer their travelling date.
“But the fact is Fiji Airways will get the cash now, the resort will get the cash now. There are many hotels which are empty but they still have to pay $3m (US$1.5 million) to $5m (US$2.5 million) insurance premiums, so insurance is not going to stop. So we have to ensure that they get cashed up. We only pay the rebate once the tourist sets foot in Fiji.”
Sayed-Khaiyum says the country still depends on the tourism industry and the Fiji National Provident Fund owns four to five hotels.
Fiji Airways in a statement acknowledged the government for this package, as well as other attractive incentives which will spur tourism recovery..
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS
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