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Fijians are still paying for NBF’s collapse

13:00 Wed Mar 14, 2018

Taken from/By: FBC News
Report by: Akosita Talei

Fijians are still paying for the largest financial scandal in our nation’s history – the collapse of the National Bank of Fiji under the Soqosoqo Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT) government in 1995.

Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the country is still reeling from this.

He says the then government issued a $209m in bonds to bail out the NBF.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds the funds borrowed were used to pay NBF depositors adding the overall cost including the interest payment has exceeded half a billion dollars.

“The initial bonds have matured but both the SDL and later the FijiFirst government has had to roll over this debt. This means we’re still paying for this debt and its likely future generations will continue to pay for it. This in fact has created inter-generational inequity- the current and future generation has to bear the cost burden of the mismanagement of a state owned bank under the SVT government – the PM then off course is now the current leader of SODELPA.”

Sayed-Khaiyum claims the situation was off course axercabated by the then senior government ministers who encouraged bad governance, nepotism and interference in the affairs of NBF.

Sayed-Khaiyum also claims people were actually given hand written notes to the bank manager to give loans.

The Minister adds the interest cost on the debt that was rolled over by the current government since 2007 is around $200m.

This means the debt servicing cost of the current government has increased because of the financial decay created by the then SVT govt.

Till to date, Sayed-Khaiyum says the government has over $6m in their books in the form of contingent liabilities for NBF related cases.

The Minister told parliament yesterday to imagine the missed opportunities that half a billion dollars could have funded adding the government could have built more roads, schools, hospitals, etc.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the government will ensure that history is not repeated hence the government has its first locally owned commercial bank – the HFC Bank.

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