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WHAT BUDGET MEANS TO YOU-It’s A Remarkable Balancing Act

WHAT BUDGET MEANS TO YOU-It’s A Remarkable Balancing Act
The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum after the 2017/2018 national budget announcement on June 29, 2017. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau
July 01
10:18 2017

ANALYSIS: Some people may think Government has a lot of money to splash in doling out pay rises, tax relief and more social benefits.

Others ask where will the money come from to pay for this Government generosity considering that the net deficit for the 2017-2018 Budget is estimated at $499.508 million.

It’s arisen from the fact that the size of our economy has doubled. Not long ago we were dealing with a $2 billion national Budget. For 2017-18 we are talking about $4.357 billion.

The reality is that this is a remarkable balancing act.  The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has got it down to a fine art. His ultimate goal is to spread the nation’s wealth to benefit all Fijians.

The pay rises for Police, nurses and teachers plus the increase in social welfare benefits and tax relief for those earning up to $30,000 a year demonstrate the Government’s stated commitment to honour its social responsibility.

More importantly, it knows that when people have more money in their pockets they have more spending power. When spending increases it stimulates the economy.

The increases vary from group to group but they are obviously based on sound evaluation.

The turaga-ni-koro’s (village headman) monthly allowance increase from $75 to $87 may look small but fits into the overall scheme of things.

We have heard Mr Sayed-Khaiyum say that we have to live within our means. This Budget has followed this principle.

The Government’s revenue collection has improved significantly that the gains are being ploughed back into the economy through several ways like infrastructure development, pay rises and more welfare benefits.

 

To get a better insight of how Government’s expenditure works, it is guided by the following objectives:

Maintain national security, the rule of law and improve access to justice;

Provide sufficient resources to facilitate free and fair elections in 2018;

Ensure civil servants are adequately remunerated for performance, risk and technical expertise;

Increase support for education and health to strengthen Fiji’s human capital and create the foundation for a knowledge-based society;

Ensure existing social protection programmes provide sufficient resources to protect the poor against inflationary pressures in the economy;

Continue with the implementation of key infrastructure projects, particularly for roads, water and electricity;

Support key policy initiatives to protect the environment and mitigate or adapt to the effects of climate change;

Provide sufficient reserves for unforeseen events such as natural disasters, including funding for emergency response and recovery;

Place greater emphasis on on-going reform initiatives to revitalise the sugar industry and ensure its long term survival;

Support key initiatives to boost the performance of primary industries such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry, given their key contribution to poverty alleviation, rural development, food security and export growth;

Accelerate key structural reforms in the public sector, including civil service reforms, public enterprise reforms and financial management reforms;

Provide sufficient support for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises; and

Promote programmes that facilitate private sector development and employment creation.

So all the Budget measures announced on Thursday night are based on financial prudence and best international practices.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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