Facts vs Alternative Facts
Introduced this year by the Trump Administration it seems that ‘alternative facts’ has found its way to Fiji’s Parliament and introduced by none other than by the lecturing maestro on everything and Economy Minister himself. The Minister is reported as having told members of the House that quote:-
The Opposition had the audacity to make wild assertions with incorrect facts, often misleading Parliament, saying the Shadow Minister characterized Fiji’s economic growth as weak and fragile, however he completely ignores the fact that we have had the longest period of economic growth ever seen! Our economy is not a roller coaster in slow motion, it’s like a train in full speed’ unquote.
Unfortunately Minister the facts say otherwise:-
POST INDEPENDENCE: 1970-1986
If there was any economic growth that was like a train in full speed it came from the Mara government in post-Independence Fiji from 1970 to 1986 with an average growth rate of 4.16% before it hit the Rabuka Brick Wall.
During this 17 year period, 13 years were positive and 10 of those years of growth were consecutive. With peak growth rates of 12.2% in 1970, and 11.61% in 1973. There were 12 cyclones over the same period.
POST RABUKA COUP 1: 1987-1999
The average growth train rate over the 13 years post Rabuka Coup No 1 dropped to 2.57%. It had 5 years of consecutive growth with peaks of 7.44% in 1989 and 8.8% in 1999 before it hit the Speight Brick Wall. There were 8 Cyclones during this period.
POST SPEIGHT COUP II: 2000-2006
The average growth train rate over this period was 1.77% with 6 of the 7 years growth being consecutive with a peak growth rate of 5.5% in 2004 before hitting the Bainimarama Brick Wall in Dec 2006. There was 2 cyclones during this period.
POST BAINIMARAMA COUP III: 2007-2017
The average growth train rate over the 11 years inclusive of 2017 of the Bainimarama Regime-Government and with 2016-2017 growth rates being forecasts, is 2.29% compared to the post-Independence rate of 4.16% over 17 years. This is definitely not quote ‘the longest period of economic growth ever’ as the Minister for the Economy is reported to have claimed.
There has been 8 years of consecutive growth with a peak of 5.3% in 2014. And there has been 11 cyclones during this period.
The growth improvement from 2012 on wards is basically driven by $4.3 billion in infrastructure injection, which is not private sector driven and not sustainable in the long term.