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Fiji Time: 09:55, Thursday 17th Apr 2014
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Budget Commentaries
 

 
Govt announces strict measures- July 02

The 2010 Revised Budget has been made public and expectations are high that the new measures will achieve the desired results in having a sustainable economy for the benefit of everyone in Fiji.

The government has announced strict measures in the budget review to ensure that imports are reduced, civil service costs are reduced and government revenue increases through targeted revenue measures.

Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said it is necessary to realistically look at government finances and how new incentives can be provided within it's means to the commercial sector but also take those living below the poverty line into account.

Quickly looking at the revenue measures and how it will affect you.

To encourage local production of vegetables, the duty on all imported fresh vegetables currently under the 5 percent duty band will be increased to 15 percent, which means that the prices of imported fresh vegetables will increase from immediate effect.

Commodore Bainimarama has also announced that to assist companies in the processing of peas, the fiscal duty on shelled peas will be reduced from 5 percent to 0 percent.

The Prime Minister said the zero rating for split peas, rice and tinned fish will be maintained to assist low income earners.

Duty has been reduced for certain motor vehicles, buses and trucks. Commodore Bainimarama said to assist low and middle income earners in purchasing new fuel efficient motor vehicles, fiscal duty on new cars and other passenger vehicles with capacity not exceeding 1500cc will be reduced from 32 percent to 15 percent.

At the same time, the age limit for used or reconditioned motor vehicles imports has also been reduced from 8 to 5 years.

Commodore Bainimarama said these measures will assist in reducing fossil fuel imports and minimize pollution.

Fiscal duty on new buses for the transport of 23 persons or more will be reduced from 32 percent to 5 percent and import excise reduced from 15 percent to 5 percent.

Commodore Bainimarama has encouraged all bus proprietors to take advantage of this reduction as soon as possible.

A 12.5 percent VAT has been imposed for General Insurance with the exception for medical, term life and Workers Compensation.

He said the imposition of VAT on general insurance is consistent with practices in jurisdictions such as Australia and NZ.

It has also been announced that the Airport Departure Tax will be increased from $75 to $100.

There are more incentives for companies listed under the South Pacific Stock Exchange.

The distribution of dividend from listed companies to shareholders will now be treated as deemed tax paid.

The Prime Minister said this incentive is in addition to the recently announced reduced corporate tax rate of 20 percent for listed companies.

Fijivillage has received confirmation that all these measures come into effect from today.

In the revised budget address, Commodore Bainimarama also announced a reduction in government's total expenditure and increased revenue for 2010.

Total revenue is now forecast at 1.496 billion dollars compared to the earlier forecast of 1.486 billion dollars while total government expenditure is forecast to be reduced from 1.790 billion to 1.715 billion dollars.

He also announced some of the reform processes which are currently underway, with an assurance to the people that the government will not tolerate anti-competitive behaviour.

Commodore Bainimarama also confirmed that the bus fare assistance, text book assistance and the 30 dollars Food Voucher Programme will continue.

The Prime Minister said the budget review was necessary due to the unanticipated expenditure totalling 143 million dollars due to Cyclone Mick and Cyclone Tomas.

On to reactions on the revised budget.

Increase in the duty for imported fresh vegetables from 5 percent to 15 percent will boost the local farmers to produce more for the hotel industry.

Agriculture minister, Joketani Cokanasiga said this incentive is to assist the farmers.

Fiji Hoteliers Association President, Dixion Seeto said most of their members are now looking at owning their own farms

The Fiji Bus Operators Association President, Zain Dean is pleased that duty has been reduced for new buses and we will definitely see new buses on the roads.

Fiji Motor Traders Association President Suresh Singh has welcomed the reduction of duty on certain motor vehicles.

However owner of Sharma's Motors, Sachida Sharma said people may have to pay more for second hand vehicles.

President Women in Business, Fiji Dr. Nur Bano Ali said goverment has positive thought for business progression in the country.

Meanwhile the increase of the departure tax from $75 to $100 will not affect the number of tourist that will come for holiday in Fiji.

Fiji Hoteliers Association President, Dixon Seeto said the increase is not that significant when compared to overseas currency.


Story by: Vijay Narayan


Consumer council labels budget as socially responsible -July 04

The Consumer Council of Fiji is urging consumers as well as businesses to take advantage of the incentives given in the 2010 Revised Budget.

The council believes that government is being socially responsible by providing the means to spur economic activity and growth that will benefit all sectors of society.

Consumer Council chief executive officer Premila Kumar said that the council sees the budget as logical and practical.

Kumar added that the council believes the increase in the fiscal duty on imported vegetables will have a major impact on consumers as there are local alternatives.


Story by: Sofaia Koroitanoa


Duty on Jet Skis fall -July 04

The government policy on creating a tangible marine and water based industry and to create opportunity in the tourism sector is good news to not only resort owners by those intending to purchase a jet ski.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama announced the reduction of duty rate in Jet Skis reduced from 32 percent to 5 percent at the revised budget announcement on Friday.

Fiji Hotel Association president Dixon Seeto said the incentive is a timely one knowing that a large part of our island is surrounded by sea.


Story by: Dreu Vukailagi


Fiji Taxi Union welcomes new concessions by Govt - July 04

Fiji Taxi Union general secretary Rishi Ram has welcomed the concessions given by government on new brand and second hand vehicles.

Ram said this is a boost to the taxi industry.

Prime Minister Commdore Voreqe Bainimarama had announced in the 2010 Revised Budget on Friday that duty has been reduced for certain motor vehicles, buses and trucks.

Commodore Bainimarama said to assist low and middle income earners in purchasing new fuel efficient motor vehicles, fiscal duty on new cars and other passenger vehicles with capacity not exceeding 1,500cc will be reduced from 32 percent to 15 percent.

At the same time, the age limit for used or reconditioned motor vehicles imports has also been reduced from 8 to 5 years.

Commodore Bainimarama said these measures will assist in reducing fossil fuel imports and minimize pollution.


Story by: Ronal Deo


Local farmers welcome increased duty to imported vegetables- July 03

As government strives to encourage local production of vegetables, some farmers have stated that they can meet the demands with the help of government.

Fijivillage spoke to some farmers at the Suva market this morning and most have welcomed the move by government to increase the duty band from 5 percent duty band to 15 percent as it will mean more sales for them as prices of imported vegetables is likely to increase.

Some of the farmers said they were confident that they can meet the demand for quantity and quality of vegetables with the help of government in terms of farming equipment and fertilizers.

Meanwhile, some of the major supermarkets we talked to this morning said that they will need more time to look at the decision and how it will affect their supply and the prices of imported vegetables before commenting.

Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Colonel Mason Smith is expected to comment later.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday announced an increase on the duty on all imported fresh vegetables currently under the 5 percent duty band to 15 percent, which means that the prices of imported fresh vegetables will increase from immediate effect.


Story by: Ana Naisoro & Watisoni Butabua


Budget revision is today - July 02

It’s budget revision day today as the Prime Minister gets ready to address the nation on the state of government finances and what it plans to do for the next 6 months.

High on the agenda is the expected reallocation of funds from certain ministries to key areas following the extraordinary expenditure incurred from the recent natural disasters.

But funds for expenditure in urgent areas will definitely need certain revenue measures and that will also be revealed to taxpayers today.

One of the main sources of revenue for the government is tax, and there is a lot of talk about some key revenue measures to be announced by Commodore Bainimarama later this morning.

On the civil service, with an operating expenditure still hovering near the 80 percent mark, Commodore Bainimarama recently announced that the government will now take active steps with the outsourcing of a number of government services.

This will reduce government expenditure and is likely to boost funds for capital expenditure.

These funds will then be directed towards many planned infrastructure projects.

Many such projects are currently funded through Chinese and Malaysian bank loans.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor recently announced that Fiji has experienced chronic budget deficits over the past two decades.

Sada Reddy has said that the major driver of rising operating expenditure has been personnel costs.

Personnel cost as a percent of operating expenditure had been quite high at 43.5 percent in the 1990-1999 period before rising to 49.5 percent in the 2000-2009 period.

Government debt has also risen over the last two decades due to continuous deficits.

It currently stands at around 52 percent of GDP and for Fiji a more sustainable level would be around 45 percent.

We also have the major challenge of increasing exports and reducing our imports.

It will be seen today whether more measures will be announced to achieve this target.

People are eagerly awaiting the announcement to find out about the changes.

Many rounds of discussions have already taken place between Commodore Bainimarama and government officials and it now comes down to what the government has decided to deliver to the people.

It will definitely be a balancing act as the government has to keep in mind that with each expenditure allocation, there needs to be revenue, either through reallocated funds or funds from the new revenue measures.

There are already hints of new revenue measures.

Many speculations have been made but Permanent Secretary for Finance John Prasad said all will be revealed by Commodore Bainimarama later this morning.

Tropical Cyclone Mick last December and Tropical Cyclone Tomas in January this year cost the government an estimated $120 million.

Prasad said the termite infestation in Lautoka has also taken a toll on the budget.

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will announce the 2010 revised budget at 10am today.


Story by: Vijay Narayan


New measures expected to be implemented into revised budget - July 01

The government is expected to implement some new revenue measures when Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama announces the 2010 revised national budget tomorrow.

With two natural disasters taking its toll on government finances over the past 6 months, Permanent Secretary for Finance John Prasad said its time to also look at how some of the unbudgeted expenses can be recovered.

While not revealing much, Prasad confirmed that proposals on new revenue measures have been handed to the Prime Minister for approval.

Tropical Cyclone Mick last December and Tropical Cyclone Tomas in March this year cost the government an estimated $120 million which has now forced the government to revise the 2010 national budget.

Prasad said it is important that the budget be revised to ensure funds are now redirected to priority areas as many capital projects have been put on hold due to the two natural disasters.

Prasad said the termite infestation in Lautoka has also taken a toll on the government budget.

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will announce the 2010 revised budget at 10am tomorrow.


Story by: Roneel Lal


Mini-budget announced tomorrow - July 01

Government continues to take a prudent approach to finances and when and where necessary government takes stock and redirects funds to priority or urgent areas.

Those are the words of Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Commodore Frank Bainimarama as he prepares to announce the mini budget tomorrow.

He will announce the changes that needed to be done by government following extraordinary expenditures incurred from the recent natural disasters.

The Prime Minister said government will continue efforts to stimulate economic activity through its fiscal policy.

He reinforced that the focus for government was also to reduce wastage, improve productivity, and speed up project and reforms implementation, in line with the strategy to safeguard government finances and to maintain macroeconomic stability.

Bainimarama said that the continued alignment of monetary and fiscal policy was starting to show positive results.

The Prime Minister said that the opportunity to meet with business and community leaders first hand and on a regular basis provides him with valuable insights into the greater workforce and private sector.

Bainimarama said that more work and effort has to go into driving costs out of the economy, lifting our exports, reducing poverty and improving the livelihood of all in Fiji.

Commodore Bainimarama will announce the mini budget tomorrow morning.


Story by: Shalvin Deo

 

 

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