ECONOMIC OUTLOOK THIS YEAR SLIGHTLY IMPROVED

Minister of Finance and Treasury Hon. Snyder Rini. Photo credit: www.smh.com.au

Minister of Finance and Treasury Hon. Snyder Rini. Photo credit: www.smh.com.au

The outlook for the national economy has improved slightly with growth this year now expected to be a little higher than previously forecasted with logging sector being the saviour.

Finance Minister Snider Rini says, the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was estimated to have been around zero percent in 2014 as a result of sharp fall in output following the April 2014 floods.

Mr Rini adds, the suspension of production at GRM accounted for the majority of the downward revision to growth in 2014 to around 2.5 percentage points compared with the 2014 Budget forecast.

But he says, the logging sector output in 2014 of around 2.14 million cubic metres turned out to be stronger than expected-contributing three-quarter percentage point to the overall GDP growth.

This reflected high rates of re-entry logging and strong international demand.

The Money Minister explained, this rate of logging is not sustainable and the level of output is projected to stabilize and then decline over the next decade.

Mr Rini says the sector, is not expected to contribute to economic growth in 2015 or across the medium term.

Meanwhile, debate on the $4-billion plus budget of the National Government has been adjourned to tomorrow, Wednesday 8th April.

Finance Minister Snyder Rini presented the budget, totaling to $4 billion, 60-million, 253,000,863 to Parliament on Thursday.

Highlights of the budget includes 36 initiatives ranging from constitutional reform to re-acquisition the Russell Islands
Plantations to develop a major Tourism Destination, to establishing the Fiu Hydro Power project in Malaita.

The Government is spending up to $37 million in constitution, political and land reforms; while in resource sector reforms it will
spend $29.5 million.

In its development reforms, the Government will be spending up to $260 million in constituency development programs alone.

While in social services, the Finance Minister says this is the Government’s biggest sector in terms of scope and funding.

In this sector, the transition of SICHE to SINU tops the Government’s 24 key social sector reforms with a total allocation of
$60 million.

The Public Accounts Committee has been conducting hearings over the long Easter Weekend and debate on the budget has been adjourned to tomorrow.

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