Prof. Prasad criticizes Opposition for ignoring budget measures and economic progress

Prof. Prasad criticizes Opposition for ignoring budget measures and economic progress

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 14/03/2024
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad Source : Parliament of the Republic of Fiji

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad says the Opposition completely ignores the measures put in the national budget to help those who need them.

Professor Prasad says almost $100 million has gone to more than 60,000 families in the past 2 years to prepare their children for back-to-school support, social welfare support was increased and the government also increased budget for health services, kidney dialysis and agriculture subsidies and all this came from the revenue that the government collected.

While speaking on cost of living, Professor Prasad says a farmer from Ba has messaged him to tell the Opposition that the price of flour has gone down from $22 for 10kg to $15 and 10kg rice has gone down from $25 to $19.

He says the Bureau of Statistics and the Reserve Bank have said that inflation was 5 percent in 2023, gone down to 3.6 percent in January and the trend is very good.

The Deputy Prime Minister says the impact of the VAT increase from 9 percent to 15 percent was temporary.

The Deputy Prime Minister has revealed that in the first 6 months of the financial year, the government has managed to achieve almost 99 percent of the budget tax revenue and compared to the same period last year, total revenue collection has increased by $458 million or 34 percent and tax revenue collection has increased by $367 million or 31 percent.

Professor Prasad says similarly, non-tax revenue has also increased by $92 million or 56 percent.

He says the government has reduced the fiscal deficit from an average of 9 percent to 4.8 percent of the GDP and plans to bring it further down to 3.5 percent in the 2024-2025 national budget.

He says the reduction in the deficit was critical to put the debt trajectory on a path of sustainability.

Professor Prasad says for the first half of this fiscal year, the Government has recorded a net deficit of $114.9 million, equivalent to minus 0.9 percent of the GDP – a surplus.

He says this is much lower than the targeted net deficit and has revealed that the government has already collected $1.8 billion in revenue which is almost half of what has been forecast for the year.

Professor Prasad says for the first six months Government expenditure totaled $1.9 billion, which represents around 44.1 percent of the total budgeted expenditure and they agree that it is lower than what they expected but as they approach the second half of the year, they expect expenditure to increase and some of the projects would not be delayed.

Professor Prasad says he is highlighting this as FijiFirst MP Premila Kumar and some others claim that the government will not be able to collect the revenue.

The Deputy Prime Minister further says the Opposition had said the government had the wrong fiscal policy, however, he acknowledged the Leader of the Opposition for making good suggestions for the economy.

Drua outclassed as Highlanders thrash them 39-3
The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua will now need to win their last match against the Rebels on Saturday to book their place in the playoffs after being th...
1 hour ago
Work in progress to safely repatriate 12 Fijians stuck in New Caledonia
Work is in progress to safely repatriate 12 Fijians stranded in New Caledonia as soon as possible. In a statement, the Government says the ...
3 hours ago

Situation in Papua New Guinea 'catastrophic' following landslide, with 4,000 in need of aid
A landslide has hit Kaokalam Village in Enga Province. Around 60 houses – each believed to contain up to 15 people – were flattened when the ...
4 hours ago

3,500 cases of drugs including 4 cases of meth in schools recorded last year
With the increasing concern of drugs being found in schools nowadays, including methamphetamine, the National Substance Abuse Advisory Council is ...
5 hours ago

23-member team expected to conduct about 20 free life-saving open-heart surgeries at Sai Sanjeevani Children's Hospital
A 23-member team of surgeons, doctors, nurses and specialists are here in the country from Australia to conduct about 20 free life-saving open-heart ...
5 hours ago

India games arcade fire kills 24
At least 24 people have died in a massive fire at a games arcade in India. Local officials say flames and a huge pall of smoke were seen rising ...
5 hours ago

fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan
Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
Motion for Salary Changes of Executive Officers Passed
The motion to change the salaries and allowances of a number of executive offices including those of Members of Parliament has been passed by ...
5 hours ago

Ministry of Home Affairs Talanoa Session on Illicit Drugs and Substance Use Disorders in Fiji
The pervasive threat of illicit drugs has emerged as a pressing concern, rapidly infiltrating and destabilizing our society therefore the Republic of ...
9 days ago

Bainimarama and Qiliho hearing in dismissal of 2 police officers case
Acting Director of Public Prosecutions John Rabuku says he wants the hearing of former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Police ...
9 days ago