Small Pacific countries improve budget positions

A new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says many smaller Pacific Island nations have improved their budget position in 2012, as a result of stronger-than-expected revenue.

The ADB's latest Pacific Economic monitor says Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu, saw stronger-than-expected revenue thanks to a new fishing licence scheme and bigger harvests made possible by the El Nino weather pattern.

Higher revenue and successful fiscal consolidation helped Tonga and Samoa, while in Fiji, a new advance payment scheme for company taxes boosted revenue and narrowed the deficit, although the ADB has warned debt is still a concern.

However, the fiscal position in the Pacific's fast-growing economies - Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu - deteriorated in 2012, mainly due to softening commodity prices.

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