NFP Leader calls on the government to remove the 20 cents per litre extra fuel tax immediately as food and fuel prices rise

NFP Leader calls on the government to remove the 20 cents per litre extra fuel tax immediately as food and fuel prices rise

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 01/10/2021
NFP Leader, Professor Biman Prasad and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The National Federation Party is calling on the government again to remove the 20 cents per litre extra fuel tax immediately as this is plunging people into misery due to the refusal to remove the extra fuel tax imposed from April 2020.

NFP Leader, Professor Biman Prasad says this is also one of the primary causes of the rise in inflation and cost of living.

Professor Prasad said the rise in food prices by 6.9 percent is linked to the fact that fuel prices have risen by an average of 36.5 percent when compared to the same period last year, as determined by the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

He says for example, the price of unleaded fuel has gone up by a massive 66.6 percent when compared to the April 2020 price of $1.66 per litre inclusive of 20 cents per litre extra tax.

Professor Prasad says it also proves that duty reductions, first announced in the 2020-2021 Budget last year and continued this financial year are not working towards alleviating the plight of our people.

He says the NFP has repeatedly called on the government to remove the 20 cents per litre extra tax on fuel.

The NFP Leader says the Minister for Economy justified, while delivering the COVID Response Budget in March 2020 that despite the imposition of the extra tax, fuel products would be cheaper and one of the lowest anywhere in the world.

Professor Prasad says clearly this isn’t the case but there is not even the fluttering of an eyelid by the Minister and other Government Members on the sobering reality. He says a consumption-driven economy during better years only made government’s projections look good so it wasn’t sustainable or real growth, which has now resulted in taxing the people through exorbitant prices of food and fuel.

The NFP Leader says any kind, caring and compassionate government will remove all forms of additional financial burden on struggling families.

Professor Prasad says the government should change course now as piecemeal assistance, overshadowed by financial burden leads to a chain reaction and inevitably escalates poverty.

According to the Reserve Bank of Fiji Board, inflation turned positive in August, mainly underpinned by higher prices for food and fuel.

Food prices rose by 6.9 percent, while the upswing in global energy prices underlined the 36.5 percent average growth in domestic fuel prices compared to the same period last year.

The RBF says consequently, year-end inflation is forecast to increase to 2 percent after hovering in the negative territory for most of the last twenty months.

RBF Governor, Ariff Ali says supply chain disruptions, rising shipping costs coupled with higher global energy and food prices have stoked inflationary concerns, prompting a reassessment of their accommodative stance.

The Governor also says in emerging and developing countries, a sustained recovery continues to be elusive, reflecting slow progress in vaccination, tightening financial conditions and pandemic-related disruptions to economic activity.

We have sent questions to the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. He is yet to respond.

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