Govt removed VAT on basic food items and medicine to tackle inflation – Rabuka

Govt removed VAT on basic food items and medicine to tackle inflation – Rabuka

By Rashika Kumar
Friday 15/03/2024
Photo : File

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says the Government’s effort to cushion the impact of inflation is through budgetary measures to support the most vulnerable in the society through the removal of VAT on basic food items and medicine.

While delivering his Right of Reply in Parliament following responses by all the MPs to the President’s speech, Rabuka says there has been some discussion on the increasing price of goods and services due to inflation but we must appreciate that most of the inflation is actually imported.

He says they have also increased social protection allowances and directed resources to the agriculture sector to ensure food security.

The Prime Minister says despite claims of growth, prosperity and boom in the past decade, Fiji’s average economic growth rate barely exceeded 3 percent, well below the average growth rate of 4.3 percent during the Alliance and the SVT days.

He says the so called boom failed to substantially improve income levels and the quality of life for majority of the people.

Rabuka says figures provided by the Bureau of Statistics and development partners confirm that Fiji’s economic performance was dismal and despite the favourable trading environment in 2017, economic growth was stagnant because the economy continued to be driven by consumption with low levels of investment.

He says based on that premise, development partners, including the International Monetary Fund continuously reminded the then Minister for Economy to consolidate government finances because of economic headwinds.

The Prime Minister says despite that advice, the previous government continued to take an expansionary approach, focusing on consumption rather than expansion while government borrowing was also targeted at consumption rather than investment.

Rabuka says this resulted in lack of employment opportunities and hardship faced by Fijians.

He says he is optimistic that the $3 billion investment in the pipeline is realised because there is renewed confidence in the economy with more transparency, certainty and consistency of policies.

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