The Fiji Labour Party has rejected the Finance Minister and the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission that it posted incorrect information regarding price increases on its Facebook page.
In a statement, FLP Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says the matter involves an FLP post on 21st April this year at a time when the Chair of the Financial Review Committee was advocating that the zero rating on basic food and other household items be removed and these be subject to 15 percent VAT.
He says FLP was concerned at the severe impact of such an increase on the pockets of poor and low income families.
Chaudhry says they posted a comparative table showing the impact of a 15 percent increase on these basic items using prices prevalent as at 21st April, 2023. He says no one had objected to the post then and questions so why bring it up now more than 3 months later. The FLP Leader says they stand by the prices quoted on their post.
Chaudhry says it is FCCC which has erred in comparing those prices with prices prevailing at 2nd August, 2023 and it did not take into account price fluctuations between 21st April and 2nd August, 2023.
He says they have written to FCCC drawing attention to their error and they expect them to correct the misinformation they have spread labelling their prices as fake as it is a serious allegation which they must correct it.
Earlier this week, the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission had confirmed that the list that is being circulated on social media that was created by the Fiji Labour Party is totally incorrect.
FCCC CEO Joel Abraham says they have sought clarification and have spoken to the FLP Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, and have also sent the Party a letter asking them to clarify their stance and position.
He says they note that the post of that price list was developed as a matter of trying to raise some awareness before the budget announcement.
He adds that some people are now taking that price list and in a deliberate attempt to spread misinformation, have circulated this, telling people that the government has increased the price.
The CEO says they have done an assessment, and after their on-site verification, the items on the FLP list should have a zero percentage increase.
Abraham is also calling on members of the public to get their information from trusted sources.
We have sent questions to FCCC and Pro Prasad on the statement by the Fiji Labour Party and they are yet to respond.
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