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Budget 2015 And The Balancing Act

Finance minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has a bit of a balancing act for the national budget 2015.  It has to be pro-poor and pro-business. That’s the feedback we’ve received from some
21 Nov 2014 07:54
Budget 2015 And The Balancing Act
Finance minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will deliver the 2015 National Budget today.

Finance minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has a bit of a balancing act for the national budget 2015.  It has to be pro-poor and pro-business. That’s the feedback we’ve received from some of the major stakeholders. The standard measure of course, for the budget will be FijiFirst’s political manifesto. Expectations are high that Mr Sayed- Khaiyum will deliver a budget on par with the previous one.

One of the major stakeholders looking for a bigger piece of the pie is tourism.

Dixon Seeto, president of the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association, feels that an increase is justified for their marketing budget and we concur with him.

The $23.5 million allocation that they have been receiving for marketing funds is too small given the increased responsibilities.

Mr Seeto is hoping to see an increase in the marketing budget to $30 million. In fact, given the exponential growth projected for Fiji Tourism, that figure might be too small. Mr Seeto is also keen on Government continuing its pro-business concessions. In particular, he points out concessions for local micro to medium business operators are expected. In a manner of speaking, he is saying that Government should not just focus on the larger operators in tourism and business.

Local operators need to be given the kind of incentives that help them thrive in their own niche markets.

Making it easy for international investors to do business in Fiji is key. Fiji’s position on international ‘best countries to do business’ lists have fluctuated somewhat in recent years.

Mr Seeto wants less ‘red tape’ as he put it and consistency in  Government policies. We couldn’t agree with him more on the ‘red tape.’ The Government is definitely working on this.

Pro-business measures in the national budget will need to be weighed against the rights of the marginalised and the poor.

The People’s Community Network, at the forefront of providing affordable housing for Fijians, hope their aspirations will be recognised.

Deputy director Savu Tawake hopes their continued partnership with the Government will continue.

Mr Tawake, like many Fijians, is acutely aware of the rising cost of living.

The Government needs to be mindful of the rising cost of food and provide the necessary concessions to help families.

Actually, the Government doesn’t have much choice. Its constitutional Bill of Rights contains specific provisions guaranteeing a range of social and economic rights for all Fijians. Expect the Goverment to do the right thing and make it a Budget for all Fijians.

Feedback: josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 




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