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Fiji Time: 06:12, Saturday 19th Apr 2014
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Budget News
 
 

 
Well thought out assistance programs in place says PM - Nov 23

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama stressed that the government is not anti-poor as he said people can clearly see that a number of initiatives continue to be introduced for low income earners or those living below the poverty line.

He said the initiatives that were never in place before are now being implemented.

13,000 households will receive a maximum assistance of $150 per month including $30 worth of food voucher from next year.

The coverage of the population living in poverty will increase from 3% to 10% going into next year for which a budget of $22.7 million has been set.

The new initiative which will start from next year will see the elderly over 70 years of age having no source of income receiving a $30 pension from government.

Commodore Bainimarama said it is also crucial to invest in our future.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

[ Top ]

200 families to have housing debts written off - Nov 23

People who are facing difficulties in paying their mortgage debts to the Housing Authority of Fiji can breathe a sigh of relief as some of their loans will be written off.

The government has set aside $1 million for next year to write off loans for 200 families under the government Social Housing Policy through the Housing Authority.

Director Housing Kolinio Bola said this will assist those who are not able to pay their loans.

Meanwhile, $600,000 has been allocated as a grant to the Housing Assistance and Relief Trust, which will cover the construction of new HART homes and maintenance of existing ones.

There are more than 20 HART homes around the country.

$1 million has also been set aside for the squatter upgrading and resettlement project which will be directed towards completing ongoing projects at Caubati, Sasawira, Ledrusasa, Cuvu and Narere.

Story by: Praneeta Deo

[ Top ]

960 people to be exempted from paying tax - Nov 23

It will be good news for 960 as they will be exempted from paying tax from next year following the increase in the tax threshold from 15,600 to 16,000.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said through this initiative, government will be losing $11.6 million.

Tikolevu said this is a balancing act.

Government has introduced a Green Tax and increased a few taxes to recover this loss.

Story by: Ronal Deo

[ Top ]

Pay rise for Govt workers welcomed - Nov 23

The Fiji Public Service Association has welcomed the pay increases for established and unestablished government workers.

However, general secretary Rajeshwar Singh said other civil servants should have been given a pay rise.

It has been announced that all established civil servants with an annual salary below $10,000 will get an increase to go to the $10,000 level while unestablished workers or government wage earners will get a 10% pay rise.

It will benefit 4,541 government employees.

The pay increments will be effective from January 1st next year and a bonus system will also be introduced for the civil service.

Meanwhile, as announced in this year’s National Budget, there was a 3% pay increase across the whole of government from 1st January this year.

All nurses and doctors also received an additional 3% pay increase which means that they received a 6% increase in total in 2012.

Police officers also received a 9% pay rise this year.

Story by: Dhanjay Deo

[ Top ]

Govt to build new classrooms for rural students - Nov 23

Good news for parents in rural communities as you will not be spending more money to send your children in Classes 1 to 3 to boarding school in order to get an education.

Government has allocated $1.2 million to build new classrooms for Classes 1 to 3, so that children at such a young age will no longer have to stay away from their parents.

Also, $150,000 has been allocated to upgrade more kindergartens in rural communities, and $100,000 to buy new equipment for these preschools.

Story by: Filipe Naikaso

[ Top ]

It has to be done says PM - Nov 23

A bold step has to be taken to fix our roads and overcome this ongoing problem that Fijians have been facing for years.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has announced a historic increase in the infrastructure budget for next year focusing on improving road conditions around the country.

The Fiji Roads Authority has been allocated $422 million.

This is the highest allocation ever to fix and upgrade our roads around the country.

Commodore Bainimarama said it is critical to get the roads fixed.

He said everyone knows this will not be cheap.

Fiji Roads Authority manager Mike Rudge said that they are focused on the task ahead with the massive amount of work to be carried out.

Rudge said people who have worked well in the Roads Department will be hired by the overseas contractors.

The national deficit will increase next year from 1.9 percent to 2.8 percent and Commodore Bainimarama said bold steps have to be taken to overcome our greatest infrastructure problem.

For next year, $2.1 billion is set as projected revenue while $2.3 billion has been set as projected expenditure.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

[ Top ]

Salary increase is to balance economic development - Nov 23

The increase in salary for unestablished workers and civil servants at the low scale is to balance economic and social development.

Permanent secretary for Finance Filimoni Waqabaca said this is to address poverty as well as reward civil servants.

He added they will soon be introducing a higher qualification requirement for certain positions.

It has been announced that all established civil servants with an annual salary below $10,000 will get an increase to go to the $10,000 level.

The cost of the pay increase is $5.7 million and it will benefit 4,541 government employees.

The pay increments will be effective from January 1st next year and a bonus system will also be introduced.

Story by: Sofaia Koroitanoa

[ Top ]

Govt to borrow $253 million through offshore loans - Nov 23

The government will borrow $253 million through offshore loans to finance infrastructure projects for next year.

Permanent secretary for Finance Filimoni Waqabaca said it will take them about 15 to 20 years to pay off the loans which will be repaid through government’s revenue.

The Fiji Roads Authority upgrading project has an ADB loan of $10 million.

The Queens Highway upgrade has a $40 million loan from EXIM Bank of Malaysia.

The Sigatoka, Serea road improvement has a $22 million loan from EXIM Bank of China.

The Buca Bay/Moto road has a $24 million loan from EXIM Bank of China while the Nabouwalu/Dreketi road upgrading has a $80 million loan from Exim Bank of Malaysia.

Story by: Sofaia Koroitanoa

[ Top ]

An extra $6M expected to be collected by govt - Nov 23

An extra $6 million is expected to be collected by government next year through the new Green Tax.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said that by increasing stamp duty rates, they will gain an additional $26 million.

FRCA is hoping to collect an additional $7.5 million through the increase in fiscal duty for cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol.

Meanwhile, the government will be losing $11.6 million by increasing the income tax threshold from $15,600 to $16,000.

Story by: Ronal Deo

[ Top ]

Expect to pay less for electricity - Nov 23

Expect to pay less for electricity from next year.

This is after a five cent reduction in electricity per unit across all tariff bands announced by government.

This is due to the fact that FEA is now targeting at least 90 percent of total energy requirements through renewable sources.

They have already reached 60 percent with the Nadarivatu Hydro Scheme online.

Government also based its assessment by the Commerce Commission to reduce the price of electricity.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

[ Top ]

Income Tax Threshold increased - Nov 23

The Income Tax Threshold has been increased from $15,600 to $16,000 for next year which means that anyone earning $16,000 or less will not pay income tax from 2013.

Looking at duties and taxes:

Prices of cigarettes and all types of alcohol will go up by 10 percent.

As every year, this increase will be effective as soon as the suppliers release the new retail prices.

The prices of imported liquid milk, powdered milk, yoghurt, cheese put up for retail sale not exceeding 1kg will also increase as the duty will increase from 15 percent to 32 percent.

A Green Tax has been introduced.

The increase in fiscal duty on motor spirits has been increased from 44 cents a litre to 46 cents a litre.

For automotive and industrial diesel oil, the duty will increase from 18 cents to 20 cents a litre.

The Green Tax will not apply on white benzene, kerosene, premix and for inter island vessels.

There is good news as duty on smart phones has been reduced from 5 percent to 0 percent while import excise duty on vegetables will be reduced from 10 percent to 0 percent in line with the zero duty of fruit.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

[ Top ]

It’s a well planned budget says Punja - Nov 23

Consumer Council CEO Premila Kumar said the people in the lower income bracket have been rewarded in the 2013 budget.

Flour Mills of Fiji and Fiji Manufactures Association chairman Hari Punja said this is a well planned budget.

The Fiji Labour Party said it is an irresponsible budget.

Leader Mahendra Chaudhry said this will drive the nation into a deeper debt trap for which our future generations will suffer.

He added that the budget projects a deficit of 2.8%, up from 1.9%, and the promises made will undoubtedly have to be met from borrowed funds.

Chaudhry stressed that Fiji’s debt situation is already critical and the nation cannot continue to survive on borrowed funds.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

[ Top ]

Agriculture initiatives for school leavers - Nov 23

A major initiative to encourage school leavers to become farmers has been announced.

A scholarship program in conjunction with the Fiji National University will start next year where 50 Form Six or Seven graduates each year will attend a 12 month certificate course that trains them in various agricultural disciplines.

When they graduate, each student will receive a loan package to the value of $70,000, to cover the costs of farm land, a tractor and basic farm implements, fertilizer and other materials, a house and shed and start up cash of $2,000.

Commodore Bainimarama said each student will be supervised by an agricultural extension officer and given specific performance targets.

The government hopes to attract many more young people to become farmers, give them sustainable livelihoods, boost the nation’s food security, and reduce Fiji’s dependence on imported food.

$5 million has been allocated for a new scholarship program to cover tuition fees for more than 1,000 students to undertake vocational courses, through the Fiji National University, to help them acquire specialised trade skills.

This is to enable them to become certified plumbers, electricians, deckhands, carpenters, mechanics and engineers.

Good news as the free text book and bus fare assistance schemes will continue next year.

$1.2 million allocated for vocational training/programmes in 124 schools.

Generous tax concessions will also be given to people who donate computers valued at more than $10,000 to schools.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

[ Top ]

Region between Korovou to Tavua to be declared tax free - Nov 23

In an effort to stimulate economic development, the region between Korovou to Tavua will be declared a tax free region for the agricultural sector.

A 13 year tax holiday will be in place for new investments in the agricultural sector and a 20 year tax holiday will be available for those who set up new dairy farms in the region.

Foreign companies that establish or relocate their headquarters to Fiji will be subject to a low corporate tax rate of 17%.

Companies that list or are listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange will now pay a reduced corporate tax rate of 18.5% as opposed to the normal corporate tax rate of 20 percent.

The existing tax deductions and incentives for listing will continue.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

[ Top ]

$32M allocated to Social Welfare Ministry - Nov 23

A total of $32 million has been allocated to the Social Welfare Ministry for their Social Protection Programs.

13,000 households will receive a maximum assistance of $150 per month including $30 worth of food voucher from next year.

The coverage of the population living in poverty will increase from 3 percent to 10 percent going into next year for which a budget of $22.7 miilion has been set.

A new initiative which will start from next year will see the elderly over 70 years of age having no source of income receiving a $30 pension from government for which $3.2 million has been allocated.

Also $500,000 has been allocated to the ministry for the welfare graduation scheme to focus on making welfare assistance recipients to become independent.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

[ Top ]

$4.2M allocated to Fiji Sports Council - Nov 23

$4.2 million has been allocated to the Fiji Sports Council to assist with the upgrade of the National Stadium to international standards and this will enhance Fiji’s ability to bid for and host regional and international sporting events.

A new allocation of $1 million has been given to set up a National Sports Commission to coordinate sporting development throughout the country.

New sporting facilities in rural communities will be set up and the government has invested $2.7 million through the assistance of the Chinese government.

Story by: Aliki Bia

[ Top ]

PM announces 2013 National Budget - Nov 22

Major announcements have been made in the 2013 National Budget in relation to an increase in the income tax threshold, pay increments for government wage earners, maintenance of our roads and new scholarship schemes to encourage people to get into farming.

While delivering the budget address, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has announced a historic increase in the infrastructure budget focusing on improving road conditions around the country.

The Fiji Roads Authority has been allocated $422 million.

This is the highest allocation ever to fix and upgrade our roads around the country.

Commodore Bainimarama said three 5 year road maintenance contracts have been signed and there are no more temporary fixes.

He said many unestablished employees of the Government’s Roads Department will move from the public to the private sector.

He is confident that those who are being made redundant will be taken by the private sector.

Four lane roads will be built between Nakasi to Nausori and from Nadi to Denarau.

30 bridges in the country will be improved next year while new bridges will also be built.

A comprehensive plan is being drawn up.

Fiji Roads Authority manager change Mike Rudge said they are focused on the task ahead with the massive amount of work to be carried out.

Rudge said people who have worked well in the Roads Department will be hired by the overseas contractors.

Rudge added they are conducting investigations on previous road projects.

The national deficit will increase next year from 1.9 percent to 2.8 percent and Commodore Bainimarama said bold steps have to be taken to overcome our greatest infrastructure problem.

For next year, $2.1 billion is set as projected revenue while $2.3 billion has been set as projected expenditure.

Expect to pay less for electricity from next year.

This is after a five cent reduction in electricity per unit across all tariff bands announced by government.

This is due to the fact that FEA is now targeting at least 90 percent of total energy requirements through renewable sources.

They have already reached 60 percent with the Nadarivatu Hydro Scheme online.

Government also based its assessment by the Commerce Commission to reduce the price of electricity.

The Income Tax Threshold has been increased from $15,600 to $16,000 for next year which means that anyone earning $16,000 or less will not pay income tax from 2013.

Looking at duties and taxes:

For those who smoke or drink alcohol, get ready to dig deeper in your pockets as a massive 10 percent increase in fiscal duty has been announced for cigarettes and alcohol.

A Green Tax has been introduced.

The increase in fiscal duty on motor spirits has been increased from 44 cents a litre to 46 cents a litre.

For automotive and industrial diesel oil, the duty will increase from 18 cents to 20 cents a litre.

The Green Tax will not apply on white benzene, kerosene, premix and for inter island vessels.

A rebate of 2 cents per litre for the bus and fishing industries will also be in place.

There is good news as duty on smart phones has been reduced from 5 percent to 0 percent while import excise duty on vegetables will be reduced from 10 percent to 0 percent in line with the zero duty of fruit.

The Prime Minister has also announced that persons receiving rental money on behalf of homestay owners are accountable to pay FRCA the 5 percent Service Turnover Tax every month.

Commodore Bainimarama has also announced a 10 percent pay increase for unestablished government wage earners.

Other changes have also been announced where all established staff (civil servants) earning below $10,000 will be put up to $10,000 while a bonus system will also be introduced from 2013.

The Prime Minister stressed that civil servants need to be better servants of the people.

A major initiative to encourage school leavers to become farmers has been announced.

A scholarship program in conjunction with the Fiji National University will start next year where 50 Form Six or Seven graduates each year will attend a 12 month certificate course that trains them in various agricultural disciplines.

When they graduate, each student will receive a loan package to the value of $70,000 to cover the cost of 100 acres of farm land, a tractor and basic farm implements, fertilizer and other materials, a house and shed and start up cash of $2,000.

Commodore Bainimarama said each student will be supervised by an agricultural extension officer and given specific performance targets.

The government hopes to attract many more young people to become farmers, give them sustainable livelihoods, boost the nation’s food security, and reduce Fiji’s dependence on imported food.

$5 million has been allocated for a new scholarship program to cover tuition fees for more than 1,000 students to undertake vocational courses, through the Fiji National University, to help them acquire specialised trade skills.

This is to enable them to become certified plumbers, electricians, deckhands, carpenters, mechanics and engineers.

In addition, to support FNU’s vocational training for those living in rural and maritime communities, $1.8 million has been allocated.

The Ministry of Education has been given $268 million for 2013 which is up by $12 million.

Good news as the free text book and bus fare assistance schemes will continue next year.

Tuition fee assistance for primary and secondary schools will continue.

$1.2 million allocated for vocational training/programmes in 124 schools.

Generous tax concessions will also be given to people who donate computers valued at more than $10,000 to schools.

Commodore Bainimarama said the health system is not as good given years of neglect.

$167 million has been allocated to the Health Ministry for 2013.

$900,000 has been given for in-service training for medical personnel, the community health worker scheme will be relaunched, $4 million has been set aside for major upgrades to health centres around the country while major works will be carried out at the Sigatoka Hospital (this will also be funded by the hotels in the Coral Coast area).

On to constitution and elections preparations:

$1 million has been allocated for the Constituent Assembly while $11 million has been given to the Elections Office for preparations for the 2014 elections.

$1 million has also been allocated to refurbish the parliament complex for the first parliamentary sitting in 2014.

The Fiji Police Force has been allocated $92 million for next year which is an increase of $8 million to ensure that the force fights crime effectively.

The government will also strengthen the Prisons system.

100 new prisons officers will be appointed and new CCTV cameras will be installed in all prisons around the country.

$21 million has been allocated to the Fiji Corrections Services.

$2 million has been allocated to the Legal Aid Commission.

$4.5 million has been set aside for the extension of the Lautoka High Court while the Ba Magistrates Court is to be relocated to higher ground.

$110 million to improve and expand the services of the Water Authority of Fiji.

$250,000 has been set aside for water testing equipment to ensure people have safe drinking water.

In an effort to stimulate economic development, the region between Korovou to Tavua will be declared a tax free region for the agricultural sector.

A 13 year tax holiday will be in place for new investments in the agricultural sector and a 20 year tax holiday will be available for those who set up new dairy farms in the region.

Tariff incentives will also be put in place to help Fiji Dairy Limited and encourage more local milk production.

Foreign companies that establishe or relocate their headquarters to Fiji will be subject to a low corporate tax rate of 17%.

Companies that list or are listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange will now pay a reduced corporate tax rate of 18.5% as opposed to the normal corporate tax rate of 20 percent.

The existing tax deductions and incentives for listing will continue.

On to reactions:

Consumer Council CEO Premila Kumar said the people in the lower income bracket have been rewarded in the 2013 budget.

The new initiative under the Poverty Benefit Scheme will cover the whole family and not the individual alone.

Social Welfare Minister Dr Jiko Luveni said this is a privilege.

13,000 households will be receiving a maximum assistance of $150 per month including $30 worth of food voucher from next year.

The coverage of the poor population will increase from 3 percent to 10 percent going into next year for which a budget of $22.7 miilion has been set.

In addition to this, $5.9 million has been allocated to the ministry for care and protection programmes for children.

A new initiative which will start from next year will see elderlys over 70 years of age having no source of income receiving pension from government for which $3.2 million has been allocated.

Flour Mills of Fiji and Fiji Manufactures Association chairman Hari Punja said this is a well planned budget.

The Fiji Labour Party said it is an irresponsible budget.

Leader Mahendra Chaudhry said this will drive the nation into a deeper debt trap for which our future generations will suffer.

He added that the budget projects a deficit of 2.8%, up from 1.9% and the promises made will undoubtedly have to be met from borrowed funds.

Chaudhry stressed that Fiji’s debt situation is already critical and the nation cannot continue to survive on borrowed funds.

Commodore Bainimarama has announced that the Fiji National Provident Fund will complete the Momi Resort project from next year.

FNPF will put an extra $150 million of investment in the Momi Resort for it to be sold.

FNPF CEO Aisake Taito said the reconstruction of Momi Resort will start early next year.

Sports Budget:

$4.2 million has been allocated to the Fiji Sports Council to assist with the upgrade of the National Stadium to international standards and this will enhance Fiji’s ability to bid for and host regional and international sporting events.

A new allocation of $1 million has been given to set up a National Sports Commission to coordinate sporting development throughout the country.

New sporting facilities in rural communities will be set up and the government has invested $2.7 million through the assistance of the Chinese government.

The government has also committed $490,000 for various sporting activities such as outreach programs, sporting tours, hosting of international tournaments and sports scholarship.

An extra $200,000 has been provided to develop sports grounds in rural communities.

With respect to facilities for youth, government has allocated $220,000 to upgrade the Naleba, Naqere and Sigatoka Youth Training Centers.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

[ Top ]

 





 
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- PM’s National Budget Address

- Budget Evaluations

- Photo Gallery
- National Budget 2012
- National Budget 2011
 
 

 


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