Another Chaotic Day In Fiji

AALE has just been on the phone to the information department at Fiji’s Attorney General’s office..

To put it mildly the whole country is in a state of flux.

A) Unconfirmed reports say that the President of the Fiji Law Society has just been released from police custody in Suva having spent the night in the cells

B) The Information office could give us no information as to whether there might be a challenge to last week’s overturning of the constitution

C) AALE has called the Fijian Law Society over half a dozen times today but nobody appears to be answering

…..and to add to the country’s woes this press release just turned up on the Fijian information ministry’s website saying that they have had to devalue the country’s currency



Reserve Bank announces the following Monetary Policy changes
Apr 15, 2009, 14:53

1. Exchange Rate

The Fiji Dollar is devalued by 20 percent with immediate effect.

2. Interest Rate

Lending rates of banks will be regulated as follows:

(a) the weighted average lending rates of banks and other lending institutions including FNPF will be kept at the level as at 31 December 2008. This adjustment must take place within three months.

(b) the interest rate spread of banks must be reduced to 4 percent or below by 31 December 2009. This policy will be reviewed in 12 months time.

(c) banks are directed to set up specialized micro-finance service centres in all their branches by January 2010. The Reserve Bank will support this set up by setting up a Micro-finance Research and Development Unit headed by a Chief Manager.

The Reserve Bank has taken the above measures to cushion the severe effects of the global financial crisis on the Fiji economy.

The devaluation will bring the F$ in line with the major trading partner countries such as Australia and New Zealand. F$ had appreciated significantly by around 20 percent since 2007/2008. This is unsustainable. By correcting the value of F$ it is expected that our exporters will benefit and will provide much needed boost to tourism.

Inflation is expected to rise immediately but will subside in the next twelve months.

The Reserve Bank is asking all sections of the Fiji’s community to bear the burden of adjustment so that our economy can recover quickly and start to generate much needed employment. In this regard the control on banks interest rates will assist the business sector to have a more stable interest rate environment and depositors will earn respectable interest rates. The banks are requested to play an active role in the economic recovery.

On Micro-finance, the Reserve Bank clarified that while some work has started in this regard, much more and urgent work is required to make a real difference to the life styles of the poor and the rural dwellers including outer islands. Lack of capital has been a major hindrance for people who have vast amounts of natural resources. Micro-finance will empower the rural sector to be more actively involved in the economic activities of the country.


Also we saw this reported in the Fiji Times Online yesterday

Constitutional offices vacant
ALL constitutional offices have been revoked following Ratu Josefa Iloilos declaration on Friday of the 1997 Constitutions abrogation.

The vacant posts include the Supervisor of Elections, the Ombudsman, the Auditor-General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner of Police, and the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji

A spokesman of the Information Department today said those required to stay would be reappointed.

To date only four decrees have been gazetted since the 1997 Constitution was repealed and a new legal order instituted.

The decrees only provide for the Head of State and the caretaker prime minister and his caretaker Cabinet.

The constitutional post of Commissioner of Police also remains operational.

State officials and police spokespersons said Captain Esala Teleni remains the office bearer.

So far there has been no word on whether any other decrees will be gazetted today