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A.S.K Invites Opposition

Acting Prime Minister and the Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says invitations were sent out to the two Opposition leaders to attend the Budget Forum. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said yesterday: “We
01 Oct 2014 11:31
A.S.K Invites Opposition
Various teams from Fiji and Australia assemble for the openning ceremony of the Fiji Cup at the Churchill Park in Lautoka on December 2,2019.. Photo: Salote Qalibau

Acting Prime Minister and the Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says invitations were sent out to the two Opposition leaders to attend the Budget Forum.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said yesterday: “We have sent out invitations to the leaders of the two opposition parties, to the Honourable Ro Teimumu Kepa and Honourable Biman Prasad to attend the forum and this is because we are looking at this opportunity and this forum as a way forward with everybody working together to ensure that we deliver the best outcome to all Fijians.”
But National Federation Party leader and economist Dr Biman Prasad is not going. It is believed that he will be sending a representative.
There is no indication whether SODELPA leader Ro Teimumu Kepa will be attending this important forum. The Fiji Sun has tried unsuccessfully to contact her.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will open the forum at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Saturday.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “We will first have a short presentation by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji regarding the income outlook going to the future and the main purpose of this forum is to get as much input as possible from the different sectors of our society to help shape our economic plan going forward.”
He said participants would be in different sections and there were 12 to 13 areas.
“We’ve got one in manufacturing, agriculture dairy concessions, financial sector, infrastructure retailer’s traders, tourism, tax laws, ministry of finance – the roles it plays, the various regulatory agencies so people can move around and make their contributions towards these groups.
“This obviously will have an impact in terms of the budget input that we have so once they break out from their sections we will have presentations and take out by the different groups and take away concrete suggestions that maybe made and a coming together of minds as to how as we as a nation using the different sectors tackle the years to come in terms of positioning ourselves well,” he said.
About 126 participants have registered.
This will be Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s first budget as Finance Minister. All eyes will be on some of the policies that the FijiFirst movement had put together in their manifesto, some of which will be expected in the budget.
The free education and free bus fare scheme is expected to continue and 2015 pre-schools are expected to be included.
An allocation of $8 million is also expected for low-income individuals to cater for free prescribed medication. This will extend to all Fijians earning less than $20,000.
Also expected is a seed funding of $10million for work to start immediately on a Fiji National University tertiary hospital which will provide advanced medical and surgical procedures to Fijians, which are now only available overseas.
At this hospital, Fijian citizens earning a household income of less than $20,000 will receive medical procedures free of charge. For retirees, irrespective of whether they are on pension or not, the cost of all procedures will be borne by Government.
A budgetary allocation of this will also be made under the Health Ministry budget.
To assist farmers to prepare land for cultivation, $5 million will be allocated for this important yet expensive exercise.
For iTaukei landowners, $10million is expected to be allocated to enable them to develop their land.
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