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- GDP (PPP):
- $7.3 billion
- 4.1% growth
- 3.2% 5-year compound annual growth
- $8,236 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Fiji’s economy is supported by robust services and tourism, but the majority of the workforce is employed in agriculture. Recent investment in sugar refining technologies has led to greater efficiency and production. The state’s presence in the economy remains pervasive, and regulatory inefficiency hurts development.
Economic Freedom Snapshot
- 2016 Economic Freedom Score: 58.8 (down 0.2 point)
- Economic Freedom Status: Mostly Unfree
- Global Ranking: 107th
- Regional Ranking: 23rd in the Asia–Pacific Region
- Notable Successes: Monetary Freedom and Trade Freedom
- Concerns: Corruption, Property Rights, and Business Freedom
- Overall Score Change Since 2012: +1.5
The return to parliamentary democracy after successful elections in 2014 has somewhat boosted investor confidence and contributed to foreign direct investment. The government continues to increase spending in attempts to fund infrastructure advancements and improve primary and secondary education.
Military strongman Commodore Frank Bainimarama has ruled the Pacific island nation of Fiji for a decade. There is a long history of ethnic tension between the indigenous, mostly Christian population and a large minority of Hindu and Muslim Indo–Fijians. Sanctions imposed in 2006 by Fiji’s main trading partners, including the European Union and Australia, in reaction to the coup that installed Bainimarama hurt vital agriculture, apparel, and fishing industries. In 2012, Australia and New Zealand restored diplomatic ties in response to Fiji’s preparations for democratic elections in 2014. In Fiji’s first election since 2006, Bainimarama was elected prime minister. Soon after the elections, Australia and the United States lifted their sanctions. Fiji’s membership in the Commonwealth of Nations, suspended since 2009, was reinstated in September 2014.
The new, democratically elected government holds some promise for increased government accountability. The interim government had made fighting the serious problems of official abuse and corruption a top priority. The land situation remains complex: 8 percent is freehold, and the rest, indigenous and government land, can only be leased. Protection of property rights is highly uncertain. Obtaining land titles is difficult.
Fiji’s top individual income tax rate is 29 percent, and its top corporate tax rate is 20 percent. Other taxes include a value-added tax and a land sales tax. The overall tax burden equals 25.3 percent of total domestic income. Government spending amounts to 28.7 percent of total domestic output. Deficits have narrowed to below 2 percent of GDP. Public debt amounts to about 50 percent of the economy.
Despite some progress, procedures for establishing and running a private enterprise are still time-consuming and costly. The recent labor reform consolidated and updated the labor codes, but an efficient labor market has not developed. Despite the new government’s ambitious goals for economic reform, its 2015 budget increased infrastructure spending and subsidies to low-income households.
Fiji has a 10.6 percent average tariff rate. Some products require import licenses. Most land is owned by the government. State-owned enterprises operate in several sectors of the economy. The government has withdrawn from commercial banking, and foreign participation is significant. Foreign exchange controls have been eased but still limit repatriation of capital and profits.