The Fiji Labour Party says the World Bank’s report for Fiji must be rejected and a more acceptable and realistic solution explored.
FLP Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry says the recommendations to fix the government’s balance sheet, if accepted, would bring untold hardship and suffering to at least 70% of our people.
He says it will add thousands more to the poverty queue, fuel excessive inflation impacting negatively on the people and on businesses, lead to social disorder, chaos and instability.
Chaudhry adds the impact of the World Bank Report’s recommendations on the nation as a whole, will be disastrous to say the least.
He says it will further accelerate the exodus of skilled workers and professionals to foreign countries.
The former Prime Minister further says the removal of subsidies will lead to the demise of the sugar industry with grave consequences for landowners, cane growers and the rural economy as a whole.
Chaudhry also says increasing the VAT rate to 15 percent and reinstating it on basic food items while reducing the tax threshold from $30,000 to $16,000 will hit our low and middle income families the hardest.
He adds women and children will bear the brunt of this inhumane recommendation.
Chaudhry says introducing new taxes on our manufacturing industry would certainly discourage import substitution and fuel imports causing loss of existing jobs and adding to our balance of payments problems.
He says it is in this context that Labour is shocked that Finance Minister, Professor Biman Prasad should welcome the report.
Chaudhry states that judging from the timing of its release, they fear that its recommendations may be referred to the National Economic Summit for endorsement.
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