30 September, 2023, 5:27 am Central - 21°C Clouds

We’re looking at where to increase the tax, whether to increase company tax or VAT as govt also needs income – Prof. Prasad

We’re looking at where to increase the tax, whether to increase company tax or VAT as govt also needs income – Prof. Prasad

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 01/06/2023
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad listens to contributions from members of the public [Photo: Fiji Government]

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad says they are working on the national budget and looking at where to increase the tax - whether to increase company tax or increase the VAT a bit because the government also needs income.

While speaking during a budget consultation session in Lomawai, Sigatoka, Professor Prasad says the social welfare payments that people are getting, free tuition fees and bus fare subsidies are not free for the government and they need money from somewhere.

He says you will see in the budget that money will be allocated properly.

Professor Prasad says the elderly receive only $100 and they are reviewing if they need more and adds no government will take away the benefits people are getting.

This follows concerns raised by farmers from Lomawai on drains that have been blocked due to overgrown grass and water logged cane farms.

He says money is needed to run the government, pay the Fiji Sugar Corporation and fix the drainage issues.

Professor Prasad says they cannot continue to take loans and it has to be controlled somehow.

He says people are paying 15 percent or 9 percent VAT right now and they will have to carefully consider it.

Professor Prasad says the country is in a lot of debt and when the debt increases, in the end, it is the people who have to pay for it when they buy groceries. Professor Prasad says the income the government gets will be returned to the people, especially to those who need it.

The Acting Prime Minister says the budget will be balanced, the concerns of the people will be considered and they will have a budget which will be looking after the interest of everybody.

He says people will see that after the budget, the infrastructure of hospitals all over the country will improve.

He says money is being wasted where for instance overseas production companies are owed $400 million.

He asks if the priority was to give $400 million to producers to make movies in Fiji than to fix the issues affecting cane farmers and improve the conditions of the hospitals.

Professor Prasad adds they are cutting down the wastage.

The 2023-2024 National Budget will be delivered on the 30th of this month.

2023-2024 Budget Address

Full Budget Coverage and Documents

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