The Consumer Council of Fiji has commended the government for announcing bold and optimistic incentives in the 2021-2022 Revised National Budget.
Council CEO, Seema Shandil says the initiatives in the Revised Budget will definitely have a significant impact on consumers’ livelihood.
She says the various consumer centred economic and fiscal policies announced will provide much-needed relief to Fijian consumers as the focus is on empowerment of not only a certain populace, but also the poor and the marginalised.
Shandil says the removal of VAT on basic food items that normally is part of any consumer basket is an overwhelming news for consumers.
She says this is very timely considering the skyrocketing cost of living emanating from the increase in the price of goods and services due to global market conditions.
Shandil says the progressive increase of the minimum wage rate would further complement the removal of VAT, hence strengthening consumers purchasing power.
The Council also welcomes the removal of the fuel levy as it will provide relief to car owners, daily commuters and bus and taxi operators as well as lower the cost of doing business which will definitely have a trickle-down effect on the prices of goods and services. Shandil says the increase in bus fare subsidy for the elderly and disabled from $10 to $25 as well as the $50 assistance to social welfare recipients will provide much needed additional assistance.
She says the huge decrease in the fiscal duty of certain imported goods, placing a cap on real estate commission, increased allocation for first home buyers programme, continuation of free medical services by private general practitioners, increase of the list of free medicines from 75 to 140 items and other tax incentives will certainly make lives of Fijian consumers easier.
The Council is reminding businesses and service providers to uphold good business practices and adjust the prices to match the policies, incentives and import duty reductions announced by the Government.
Shandil says the Revised Budget will definitely trigger spending which is needed for positive growth of the economy as a whole.
She says it is a fact that more money in consumers’ pockets means more spending and consequently more business for traders and ultimately positive economic growth.
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