Dialogue Fiji is calling for the removal of the 20 cents per litre tax on fuel.
Executive Director, Nilesh Lal says this tax was imposed at a time when the global crude oil prices had reached record lows but has since increased more than two-fold.
Lal says the higher fuel price is pushing up the cost of doing business and having an inflationary effect on consumer prices which affects demand negatively.
In its budget submission, the civil society organisation says government should increase the Ministry of Health’s budget allocation to 5% of GDP to ensure appropriate levels of resources are available to reduce mortality rate due to the pandemic.
Lal further says government should also negotiate another round of repayment holiday for home mortgages with banks, to save homes and negotiate a 6-month moratorium on repayments for loans to small and mid-size enterprises, with lending institutions.
He says soft loan facilities should also be established to support affected businesses.
Dialogue Fiji has further submitted that focus should be on growing existing sectors which have potential for immediate expansion and whilst agricultural sector has the greatest potential to expand, critical hurdles such as land tenure issues remain unresolved and unaddressed for years.
Lal says Fiji has failed to attract foreign investment into the sector which can bring in new skills and technology, and lead to the establishment of agricultural business which can do production at commercially viable and internationally competitive scales.
He says government needs to now exhibit willingness to engage in a national dialogue with relevant stakeholders and influencers, such as opposition political parties on the land issue and civil society organisations like them can play an important role in facilitating this.
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