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31 March, 2020, 10:37 pm
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NEWS SPORTS
31 March, 2020, 10:37 pm Central - 25°C Clouds

COVID-19 Response Budget

COVID-19 Response Budget

By fijivillage
Friday 27/03/2020
Attorney General and the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Attorney General and the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum presented the COVID-19 Supplementary Budget to parliament at 7.30 on Wednesday 26th 2020

Sayed-Khaiyum said they introduced a COVID-19 Budget Response to offer relief to Fijian families, bolster businesses, protect workers, and fund life-saving containment efforts.


Tikoduadua says the cash strapped government has no shame while AG states there's confidence in the system

By Dhanjay Deo
Saturday 28/03/2020
NFP President, Pio Tikoduadua and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

National Federation Party President, Pio Tikoduadua says the current rudderless cash strapped government has no shame.

In his response to the COVID-19 Response Budget, Tikoduadua says someone who is an expert with theatrical and drama skills, the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while delivering the supplementary budget tried to arouse the emotion of the people by blaming the Opposition and brandishing high in the sky figures of how the assistance was to stay ahead of the COVID-19.

Tikoduadua says in reality, in terms of direct assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of the loss of paid employment and reduction in business activities in the formal and informal sector is $100 million under Head 50 of the Budget Estimates and this too is under restriction.

He says other measures announced as part of government’s stimulus package such as deferment of loans and interest payments and affected members allowed to withdraw their own funds from FNPF are not direct assistance from government.

Meanwhile the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in his Right of Reply says that there's confidence in the system and they will be also willing to give levels of comfort if the problem persists.




It is not easy being a teacher now - Kepa

By Dhanjay Deo
Friday 27/03/2020
SODELPA MP, Ro Teimumu Kepa

SODELPA MP, Ro Teimumu Kepa says it is not easy being a teacher now as just in the past few years, allocations for counsellors, school chaplains and boarding school allowances have been removed from the budget.

In her response to the COVID-19 Response Budget, Ro Teimumu says the sad thing about this is that the schools that are impacted particularly by the absence of school chaplains and boarding school allowance are mostly schools where the indigenous Fijians are the majority.

She says the indigenous Fijians have been told over the years that these schools have been established for them.

She says students themselves had highlighted to the Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum last year that lack of discipline is of great concern to them.

Ro Teimumu says there is so much indiscipline in schools and the Attorney General does not bother to find out what is the root cause to this negative behaviour.

Meanwhile, Ro Teimumu says she welcomes the 20 percent reduction in her parliamentary salary as it is for a worthy cause however, the Prime Minister and Minister should take a reduction of 50 percent to make it meaningful as this will be the first time ever for them to take a pay cut.




Akbar well aware of students missing out on official learning time if 2 weeks holidays extends

By Dhanjay Deo
Friday 27/03/2020
Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar

Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar says she is aware that every passing minute, they will be missing out on official formal learning time if circumstances forces them to extend the two weeks school holidays beyond the schedule dates.

Akbar says the Ministry of Education will re-adjust the budget, re-align the school terms, re-schedule examinations and re-assess the curriculum to have timely content coverage.

Akbar then told Ro Teimumu Kepa that they do not have time to dwell over petty issues.

She says in no circumstances, they will compromise the quality of education delivered to children and they will try to do their best under whatever circumstances.

Rosy Akbar.





COVID-19 Response Budget is a monkey budget - Nawaikula

By Iva Danford
Friday 27/03/2020
SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula

SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula says that the COVID-19 Response Budget is a monkey budget.

In his response to the budget, Nawaikula says that the budget is poor and incompetent as more is needed.

He says that the $40 million is not enough for the Health Ministry to fight COVID-19.

Nawaikula says the Minister for Health should resign because he is not properly empowered.

Nawaikula says government should take on the responsibility that they brought in COVID-19 to Fiji.

He says that the 20 percent salary deduction for the Prime Minister, Minister for Economy, other Ministers and Assistant Ministers is not enough.

Minister for Infrastructure Jone Usamate then raised a point of saying that Nawaikula is misleading parliament by saying that all the Ministers get $200,000, because they don’t.

Nawaikula also mentioned that inter-island shipping will be closed. Usamate then raised another point of order saying that it will be open, people will not move but cargo will move.




As a responsible government we decided not to impose a 35% pay cut on all civil servants - Waqainabete

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 27/03/2020
Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete and NFP Leader, Professor Biman Prasad

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says although NFP Leader, Professor Biman Prasad is denying that he called for a 35 percent pay cut for all civil servants in a Fiji Times opinion piece, the opinion piece is still on the NFP site where Prasad had made the call for a pay cut for the Prime Minister, Ministers, Speaker, Members of Parliament and all those in the civil service and those in the government commercial companies.

Doctor Waqainabete says as a responsible government, they have decided not to impose a 35 percent pay cut on all civil servants as proposed by the NFP Leader.

The Health Minister says it is important for the doctors and nurses working tirelessly at the moment to know what the NFP had said in the opinion article on March 21st.

Professor Biman Prasad said he never said to cut the pay of all those in the civil service.

Fijivillages can confirm that the opinion article by Professor Prasad on March 21st is still on the NFP website where Prasad had made the call for a pay cut for the Prime Minister, Ministers, Speaker, Members of Parliament and all those in the civil service and those in the government commercial companies and statutory organisations.

Professor Prasad says there was an error and somewhere along the way, his opinion piece was changed as Fiji Times also sends all it’s articles to it’s lawyers. He says he does not want to blame anyone and changes will also be made to the article on their website.

Professor Prasad also says that he stands by his interviews given on March 16th and 17th where he did not say that all those in the civil service should get a pay cut. The opnion piece was publishe din the Fiji Times on March 21st.




We support some of the measures in the COVID-19 response budget however it's a disappointing and dishonest budget- Prof Prasad

By Naveel Krishant
Friday 27/03/2020
National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad

National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad says they support some of the measures in the COVID-19 response budget however he labelled it as a disappointing and dishonest budget.

While making his contribution to the budget debate, Professor Prasad said the government did not bring the virus in the country but he says we are confronting a double tragedy.

He says the first tragedy is the devastation and loss the virus will bring and the second is that we do not have money to respond to it.

Professor Prasad says it is not a billion-dollar budget.

The NFP Leader adds that the government is only doing two useful things which are topping up FNPF accounts and increasing the health ministry’s budget. He says after that it is up to everybody else.

Professor Prasad says in his view the government is hoping that the crisis will not get worse adding that this is the first government that always runs to the FNPF.

The NFP Leader was talking about the FNPF when Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum raised a point of order.

Prasad also claimed that the health ministry has only conducted less than 200 tests for COVID-19.

Minister for Health, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete clarified that they have done more than 200 tests.

Meanwhile, Prasad says his understanding was that he had 20 minutes to respond to the COVID-19 Supplementary Budget.

He made these comments after Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau interjected Professor Prasad and asked him what was his time limit.

Ratu Epeli says that he was informed by the whips and his understanding was that members will have about 7 minutes.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Vuniwaqa happy that COVID-19 Response Budget will help maintain the current social protection programs

By Semi Turaga
Friday 27/03/2020
The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation is happy that the COVID-19 Response Budget will help maintain the current social protection programs.

This includes the Social Pension Scheme, the Poverty Benefit Scheme, the Care and Protection Allowance, the Rural Pregnant Mothers Program and the Disability Allowance.

Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa has told parliament the total allocation to the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation for this fiscal year is now 144 million dollars.

This allocation is an increase of about 60 million dollars from the initial 2019/2020 National Budget.

Vuniwaqa says the very fact that the budget for the Ministry has been increased during these trying times speaks volumes of where the heart of this government is.

Vuniwaqa also confirms the National Women’s Expo will not be held this year.





Money needed by Fijians - PM

By Iva Danford
Friday 27/03/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

“We need to put money into the pockets of Fijians now.”

This was highlighted by the Prime Minister while giving his response to the COVID-19 Response Supplementary Budget.

Bainimarama says there is also a need to extend a lifeline to Fijian businesses and a need to get more life saving supplies for doctors and nurses to test for the virus.

He says that he does not think some sitting in the chambers realise what is happening around the world right now and just how bad things are going to get.

Bainimarama say that he knows the Fijian people shared his frustration last night listening to the tedious back and forth delaying hearing what the budget contained and the support it provides.




It was very easy to make the decision to cut the pay of all elected officials - PM

By Semi Turaga
Friday 27/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says it was very easy to make the decision to cut the pay of all elected officials.

The 20% pay cut is for the Prime Minister, Ministers and parliamentarians for the next 6 months.

This will total $400,000.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




A lot of the COVID-19 Response Budget is only based on what the govt can give employers in terms of tax policies, concessions and incentives - Prasad

By Shanil Singh
Friday 27/03/2020
National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad

National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad says a lot of the measures that have been announced in the COVID-19 Response Budget are only based on what the government can give to employers in terms of tax policies, concessions and incentives.

Professor Prasad believes there is little support for those who are going to be unemployed and little is directly going from the government coffers who will be suffering badly for the next few months.

He says essentially, this reflects on the tight fiscal space that the government has had even before COVID-19 hit Fiji.

Professor Prasad adds this is reflected in the government’s inability to provide a very direct stimulus package to businesses, people and small and medium enterprises in particular.

He also says that they are happy with the announcement that elected Members of Parliament will take a 20% pay cut

The NFP Leader says the decision to reduce FNPF statutory contributions is a measure to help both the employers and employees although this is a difficult time but that is perhaps reasonable and that would help employees to keep some of their money which is their savings.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Government revised all expenditure meaning there is less money required by Ministries to carry out their work - AG

By Semi Turaga
Friday 27/03/2020
Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the government has revised all expenditure which has meant that there is less money required by Ministries to carry out their work.

But he says they have cut the expenditure in such a manner that it will not affect them from doing their normal work.

He says the Ministries are carrying out the services.

Some expenditure cuts include overseas trips and workshops.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




More borrowings than expected but the government says it is necessary in response to COVID-19

By Semi Turaga, Vijay Narayan
Friday 27/03/2020

A total of $3.536 billion has been allocated in the COVID-19 Response Budget.

The Ministry of Economy says the revised total expenditure takes into account the current spending trend, reprioritisation of capital expenditures, anticipated operational savings and new COVID-19 related allocations.

Based on projected total revenue of $2.507 billion, the net deficit stands at $1.028 billion for the COVID-19 Response Budget, equivalent to 9.0% of GDP. The deficit will be financed through both domestic and external borrowings from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

By July this year, the government’s domestic debt is expected to total $4.992 billion while external debt is expected to total $1.996 billion. This will take the total debt to $6.988 billion.

The Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says, of course, they have to borrow more because of the new expenditures and the depletion in government revenue.

He says they could have very easily done a 10% salary cut for civil servants and statutory organisations and would have saved 120 million dollars or more instead of going out to borrow another 100 million dollars.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the fact of the matter is they need to keep the economy moving and they obviously have to re-finance.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Tax collections projected to be $1 billion lower than expected

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 27/03/2020

Overall tax collections are projected at $2.022 billion for the 2019-2020 financial year.

This is expected to be lower than the original budget by $1.058 billion, a decline of 34.4%.

Compared to the collections in the 2018-2019 financial year, tax revenue will be $797.7 million lower which is a 28.3% decline.

Major reductions are expected from VAT collections, income taxes and customs revenue.

Over $3 billion was forecast in total VAT collections in the current financial year however due to the slowdown in the economy and VAT exemptions for medical supplies, the forecast for total VAT collections in the revised budget is just over $1.9 billion.

Dividends from state-owned enterprises are expected to decrease together with lower collections from various fees, fines and charges.

This decline is compensated by the one-off $206.1 million divestment proceeds from Energy Fiji Limited.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




COVID-19 Response Budget: Tax and duty changes

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 27/03/2020

To assist the medical sector during the COVID-19 crisis, importation of the following items will be exempt from Import VAT:

-Hand sanitizers and antibacterial hand wash

-Gloves -Masks -Disposable hair nets -Disinfectant wipes

-Tissue papers

-Face shield

-Medical goggles and spectacles (used in the lab and medical facilities)

-Protective plastic garments for surgical and medical use

-Protective garments of textiles or rubberised textiles

-Long sleeve medical gowns

-Scanners and cameras used in medical examination

-Ethanol for companies involved in hand sanitizer production

-Disinfectants Vaccinations and Medicaments of Chapter 30 of the Customs Tariff

-Air purifier

-Boots &ndash specifically used in medical environment

-Hospital beds

-Hydrogen peroxide

-Paper bed sheets

-Thermometers and Medical equipment under Chapter 90 of the Customs Tariff.

Duty has also been zero-rated for most of these medical items to give relief to those people even buying items like hand sanitizers, masks and disinfectants.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Dr Waqainabete stresses to Nawaikula to stop lying to people, the govt did not bring COVID-19 to Fiji

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 27/03/2020
Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete [L-R] and SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has stressed to SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula to stop lying to people and made it clear that the government did not bring COVID-19 to Fiji.

This is after Nawaikula repeatedly said that the government brought the virus to the country by neglect.

Infrastructure Minister Jone Usamate says the government did not bring COVID-19 to Fiji.

He told Nawaikula to stop spreading fake news.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




COVID-19 Response Budget: Tertiary Loans

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 27/03/2020

For students repaying Tertiary Education Loans, all repayments will be suspended until 31st December 2020, providing these working Fijians around $10 million dollars in immediate relief.




COVID-19 Response Budget: Sugar

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 27/03/2020

$50 million has been allocated to the Fiji Sugar Corporation for Cane Delivery Payment.

The government is in the process of acquiring FNPF and FHL’s shares in the FSC to meet the legal requirements to convert the government's debt in FSC into equity.

Fiji Rice Limited has already confirmed they will inject $1 million dollars into a rice planting scheme.

There will also be an additional $1 million allocation towards the Ministry of Agriculture to bolster Fiji’s food security.




Urgent COVID-19 Response Needed

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 27/03/2020
Minister for Economy

Minister for Economy and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says under the crushing weight of this pandemic, our economy is projected to contract by 4.3% this year, an optimistic projection that depends entirely on the success of Fiji and our major source markets in combating the virus.

He says COVID-19 has been present in Fiji for 1 week and the government will have no choice but to lock down Fiji if people do not follow the measures taken to contain the disease.

Sayed-Khaiyum has called on parliament to pass this budget with consensus today to assist the affected Fijians.

The Minister for Economy says Fiji can come back from this crisis better and smarter.

Sayed-Khaiyum says this virus will reshape our society and we must embrace this new reality

He says some people are blind to what is happening and the huge effects of COVID-19.

While delivering the Supplementary Budget in Parliament, Sayed-Khaiyum says this virus has paralyzed the world.

The Minister says this would be the most severe depression of our time.

Sayed-Khaiyum says for Fiji, the effects will be far worse than Cyclones Winston, Josie, Tino and Keni combined and even more.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




COVID-19 Response Budget: Donor Fund Set Up

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 27/03/2020

Sayed-Khaiyum says a COVID-19 Donor Fund has been set up. New Zealand has pledged $3 million and Australia has pledged a total of AUD $12 million.

In the wake of COVID-19, the government has had positive discussions with the Asian Development Bank to top up its previously-pledged funding of US$100 million by up to US$100 million more.

The World Bank is also offering Fiji US$5.5 million dollars from its COVID-19 facility.




COVID-19 Response Budget: Education

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 26/03/2020

The government will add another $20 million to the education budget to cater mainly for teachers’ salaries now that the total number of teachers working in the country has been consolidated.




COVID-19 Response Budget: Elderly Travel Allowance Reduced and to be reviewed in 3 months

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 26/03/2020

The Travel Allowance for the elderly reduced from $40 to $20 per month.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the government expects the younger people in the family to assist in doing errands for the elderly following this reduction.

This reduction will be reviewed in three months.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf





COVID-19 Response Budget: More Initiatives

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 26/03/2020

To offer serious mortgage relief for homeowners, the government will also be reducing stamp duty rates for Fiji resident taxpayers for mortgages from 1.7% to 0%.

Foreign nationals will see their mortgages’ stamp duty reduced from 5% to 0%.

A 100% write-off will also be granted for the construction of new commercial and industrial buildings, provided the appropriate approvals are obtained before the end of the calendar year.

A 100% write-off of up to $10,000 will be made available on the purchase of fixed assets for business purposes.

And to continue to build an inclusive economy through these tough times, deductions for businesses employing Fijians living with disabilities for three consecutive years will increase from 300% to 400%.

The tax deduction that businesses can claim on their first full-time employee will increase from 200% to 300%.

The tax deduction on wages paid for applicable student apprenticeships will also be increased to 300%.

A 300% tax deduction will also be offered for any donations that businesses make to the government’s COVID-19 donor fund, a trust to be utilised for any coronavirus assistance, from medical supplies to economic relief.

The Minister for Economy has also announced that tax deduction for business rental.

Landlords can reduce rent for business from $1,000 to $500 and the $500 being lost can be claimed and the government will carry the burden.

The VAT Monitoring System implementation will be deferred.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




COVID-19 Response Budget: Fuel duty to increase by 20 cents per litre

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 26/03/2020
Minsiter of Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

The Minister of Economy has announced that the government will be raising revenue by increasing the fiscal duty by 20 cents per litre for fuel.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says thanks to a dramatic reduction in the price of fuel, Fijians will still pay lower rates of fuel than they do today.




COVID-19 Response Budget: Health and COVID-19 Response

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 26/03/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has also announced a $40 million top-up for the Health Ministry.

Sayed-Khaiyum says this is for more masks, ventilators, set up fever clinics, fund vital awareness campaigns and also fund emergency COVID-19 plans.

To ensure the medical sector has the specific, technical tools it needs to combat the COVID-19 crisis, the government will introduce a VAT exemption on imports for a vast range of medical supplies and equipment, effective immediately.

Sayed-Khaiyum says they are adding the $40 million to enhance the health system’s capacity to respond to this pandemic on top of the $347.5 million allocated to the health sector in this financial year.




COVID-19 Response Budget: Water and Electricity

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 26/03/2020

Energy Fiji Limited will now fully match the government’s existing 50% subsidy on the first 100 units of electricity for all of its subsidised customers.

This is for the households earning less than $30,000 annually.

Through July 2020, the Water Authority of Fiji has agreed to cart water to any area in Fiji impacted by water cuts regardless of expected repair time at a cost of $4.25 million, and suspend all disconnections until 31st December 2020, forgoing $28.4 million in revenue.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Relief for loan and hire purchase payments for those who have lost jobs and are on reduced hours

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 26/03/2020

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says there will be deferred loan repayments for six months for any Fijian who has lost their jobs or had their hours reduced.

Mortgages, personal loans and even hire purchase payment plans from stores like Courts, Carpenters and others all qualify.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




20% pay-cut for all MPs for the next 6 months

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Thursday 26/03/2020

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has announced a pay cut of 20% for the Prime Minister, Ministers and parliamentarians for the next 6 months.

Sayed-Khaiyum says this shows they are leading by example.

This will total $400,000.

He also says, for the time being, they won’t be mandating salary cuts across the civil service, nor their statutory bodies or government-owned companies.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Government will pay 21 days Sick Leave for people earning less than $30,000 if they test positive for COVID-19

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Thursday 26/03/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Minister for Economy and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the government will pay 21 days Sick Leave for people earning less than $30,000 if they test positive with COVID-19.

A 300% tax deduction will also be allowed to employers for wages/ salary paid to employees who are self-quarantined and approved by Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Relief for affected workers coming through FNPF or the government

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Thursday 26/03/2020

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says from today, once the budget gets passed, Fijian workers in the hospitality sector who have lost their jobs or have reduced hours since 1st February 2020, can, for now, access an initial $1,000 from the FNPF if they have the funds in their account.

Sayed-Khaiyum says if they do not have that amount, the government will subsidise the difference.

All those employees affected by the nationwide physical distancing requirements, along with employees in the Lautoka confined area who have been placed on leave without pay or had their hours cut, will be able to access an initial $500 dollars from FNPF.

If they do not have enough funds the government will subsidise the amount.

Fijians in the informal sector who are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 will be paid a one-off sum of $1,000.

Furthermore, for those affected in the informal sector in the lockdown areas, the government will also be providing a one-off relief payment of $150 for all those who have a street trader or hawker license.

The Minister says all FNPF employees contributions will reduce from 8% to 5%.

This will be from 1st April to 31st December 2020.

This is expected to put $80 million in the pockets of employees.

Employers’ FNPF contributions will reduce from 10% to 5% from 1st April to 31st December.

Sayed-Khaiyum says over the next nine months, this will keep $130 million in their accounts.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Some people are blind to what is happening with the huge effects of COVID-19 - AG

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Thursday 26/03/2020
The Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

The Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says some people are blind to what is happening and the huge effects of COVID-19.

While delivering the Supplementary Budget in Parliament tonight Sayed-Khaiyum says this virus has paralyzed the world.

The Minister says this would be the most severe depression of our times.

Sayed-Khaiyum says for Fiji, the effects will be far worse than Cyclones Winston, Josie, Tino and Keni combined and even more

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




When 2019/2020 budget was done no one predicted that we would have COVID-19 - Waqainabete

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Thursday 26/03/2020
Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete and SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula

Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says that when the 2019/2020 budget was done, no one predicted that we would have COVID-19 as SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula attacked Dr. Waqainabete by saying that the Minister did not do anything to address COVID-19.

Dr.Waqainabete says if they knew they would have put aside appropriations.

Dr. Waqainabete says that this was unacceptable as the sons and daughters of this country have been working on this for the last 5 months. He says this is despicable.

Meanwhile, Nawaikula says you cannot just table the Supplementary Budget and expect to debate and pass the budget tomorrow.

Nawaikula says the government is trying to suspend several Standing Orders to push through the Supplementary Budget.

Nawaikula also attacked Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete saying that he has done nothing for COVID-19.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Close to 25,000 people have lost their jobs in the tourism sector and they need to be assisted urgently - AG

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Thursday 26/03/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has revealed in Parliament that close to 25,000 people have lost their jobs in the tourism sector and they need to be urgently assisted by government and access funds from their FNPF if they have enough funds.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the government is using the law to urgently assist the people who have lost their jobs.

He says the reality of the matter is that we have a dire situation on our hands.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds they do not want the dilly-dallying like the opposition is doing.

He revealed that the government will make available $60 million to those people who have lost their jobs already.

Sayed-Khaiyum says we need to take action now.

He adds that the Budget Book is available and they should debate it today.

The Minister for Economy says if the opposition feels 3 hours is not enough then they can debate it for 7 hours.

He says they are here to do a job and parliament is a workplace.

NFP MP Pio Tikoduadua had also opposed the motion for 1 day debate today saying his leader, Professor Biman Prasad has been saying that the economy is coming to a grinding halt. He asked where is the boom.

Tikoduadua says 3 hours of debate for the Supplementary Budget is not good enough.

Leader of the Government in the House, Inia Seruiratu says parliament can be debating all of next week but every day counts.

Seruiratu says Italy had 5 COVID-19 cases on February 23rd.

He says a month later they have 60,000 cases.

Seruiratu says we need to take immediate action.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf



AG to present COVID-19 supplementary budget to parliament at 7:30pm today

By Naveel Krishant, Semi Turaga
Thursday 26/03/2020
Minister for Economy and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Attorney General and the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will present a COVID-19 Supplementary Budget to parliament at 7.30 tonight.

Sayed-Khaiyum says they are introducing a COVID-19 Budget Response to offer relief to Fijian families, bolster businesses, protect workers, and fund life-saving containment efforts.

He says they haven’t a moment to spare.

Sayed-Khaiyum had earlier said that we cannot risk waiting until the close of the financial year to re-evaluate government spending priorities and take stock of government revenue streams.

Sayed-Khaiyum had said there are key expenditures that must be made to ensure the protection and continuation of the Fijian way of life, that includes our people’s health, their jobs, their businesses and their food security.

The Minister added that the economy remains under prudent and responsible management and the government will not hesitate to make tough decisions with a view towards long-term economic prospects.

He had said rest assured, the government will be leveraging every channel of growth at its disposal to keep the economy prosperous, keep Fijians employed, and keep businesses afloat, all while putting people’s well being first.

Stay with us for the latest from the supplementary budget announcement tonight on Fijivillage.



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