$114.5m of ESP spent so far: Kuma

Minister of Finance and Treasury Harry Kuma
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THE Government is still to inject about $114.5 million from the $309 million of the Economic Stimulus Package into the economy.

To date, the Government has spent $184.5 million of the ESP.

Minister of Finance and Treasury, Harry Kuma told Parliament last week that early results on the implementation of the Stimulus Package has proved a significant positive impact in our economy as figures from the exports of major commodities including copra, cocoa, kava, and timber recorded increased exports and as a result achieved the underlying policy objective of the stimulus package.

Kuma said the cash returns from these commodities fall right into the hands of our rural farmers and producers.

Furthermore, the Government made intervention through the ESP, including our covid-19 preparation and responses on key economic fundamentals like economic growth, inflation and interest etc. are key indicators that shed light on possible paths.

Kuma said our interest rates are still high by regional standards with lending rates of 10.3 percent and deposit rates of less than one percent (0.45 percent).

He said this is one reason why we struggle to stimulate local business investments and stir demand for borrowings and savings.

“However, with Treasury Bill rates and the forthcoming financial inclusion strategy, we hope to see growing competition and domestic demand impacting on interest rates in the medium to long term,” he said.