Pacific countries trained to better manage public debt using Commonwealth Meridian

19 March 2024
Pacific countries trained to better manage public debt using Commonwealth Meridian

Officials from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu have completed expert training to manage their sovereign debt using the Commonwealth Meridian system.

The Commonwealth Secretariat partnered with the Government of Fiji to host a regional training workshop in Nadi from 28 February to 8 March 2024.

The training was designed to equip officials from finance ministries and central banks with the skills needed to record, manage and report on various types of debt using Meridian.

Officials also received step-by-step guidance on migrating their debt records to the new system and engaged in discussions focused on ensuring data quality and integrity.

Innovative technology for debt management

Sisilia Nalaide, the Head of the Debt Management Team at Fiji’s Ministry of Economy, opened the workshop on behalf of Shiri Krishna Gounder, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry. She said:

“Commonwealth Meridian incorporates advanced and improved functionalities to address emerging debt management requirements and takes advantage of the latest state-of-the-art technologies.”

Meridian, introduced in 2019, replaces its predecessor, the Commonwealth Secretariat: Debt Recording and Management System (CS-DRMS), offering enhanced features and real-time access to debt data.

The system allows debt managers to monitor liabilities closely, make evidence-based decisions, and ensure that national financing requirements are met effectively and with acceptable risk levels.

Speaking at the workshop, Dr Ruth Kattumuri, Senior Director of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Economic, Youth and Sustainable Development directorate, underlined the crucial need for debt sustainability for small island states in the Pacific region, especially given their vulnerability to debt challenges exacerbated by climate change.

Dr Kattumuri said:

“Our workshop for public debt managers in the Pacific region has been essential in supporting countries to bridge gaps in debt data and maintain quality information that promotes public debt transparency and effective decision-making towards achieving debt sustainability.”

A timely intervention

One of the participants, John Robert Simelum, Manager of Vanuatu’s Debt Management Office, commended the Commonwealth Secretariat for the workshop. He said:

“The training workshop is very timely for the region as many countries are struggling with post-COVID-19 debt sustainability issues.

“Meridian would help to address the challenges encountered by debt officials in proactively managing their debt portfolios. It would help in Vanuatu’s efforts towards debt transparency through efficient [financial] reporting.”

Dr Raymond Prasad, Head of the Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit, reiterated the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting member countries in achieving their development targets, including through the deployment of essential tools, such as the Meridian.

The upgraded system is offered to Commonwealth countries as part of the Commonwealth’s debt management programme, which includes advocacy and policy advice on developing debt management strategies.

Currently, Meridian is in use in 39 countries. 

About the Commonwealth Meridian

Media contact

  • Snober Abbasi Senior Communications Officer, Media and Public Affairs, Commonwealth Secretariat

  • +44 20 7747 6168 |  E-mail