Fijian economy suffering during turmoil

April 15, 2009 at 3:45 PM

SUVA, Fiji, April 15 (UPI) -- Fiji's already weak economy has worsened since military chief Commodore Frank Bainimarama was installed as prime minister last week, analysts say.

Since the declaration of emergency during the weekend by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, the military has seized control of Fiji's Reserve Bank, devaluing the Fijian dollar by 20 percent in a bid to boost exports and help an ailing economy, while tough exchange controls have also been imposed to keep money from flowing out of the country, the Voice of America reported Wednesday.

Meanwhile, economic observers say Fiji's key industries of tourism, clothing and sugar are suffering because of the political turmoil.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully told VOA the situation was troubling, saying, "The fact that the military have acted in this way, particularly around the Reserve Bank, shows that they have little understanding of the complexity of that situation and of the damage they could do."

McCully said there's nothing others can do to "stop the Fijian government from wrecking their economy if they are hell-bent on doing so and it appears that they may well be hell-bent on doing so."

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