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EDITORIAL: 2015 Govt Focus On Keeping Promises

This year the Bainimarama Government will focus on fulfilling a number of the promises made in their manifesto. The year will begin with an increase in the Fiji National Provident
02 Jan 2015 12:59

This year the Bainimarama Government will focus on fulfilling a number of the promises made in their manifesto.

The year will begin with an increase in the Fiji National Provident Fund contribution from eight to ten per cent from employers. Employees too have an option of voluntarily increasing their contribution.

While this increase in contribution by employers will assist employees/workers to save for their retirement at a faster pace, employers will continue to be able to have tax deductions on such benefits paid by them.

Hence, this becomes a win-win situation for employees as well as employers.

On the education side, from later in the academic year, students attending pre-school will be able to do so without paying any fees.

Following the model of Mauritius, another first for this year could be plans for the Bainimarama-Government to import all fossil fuel, such as petroleum and gas, instead of private oil companies.

This would allow Government to call for international tenders for the supply of fuel and successfully negotiate lower prices.

The existing oil companies will then buy fuel from the Government, which will generate revenue and guarantee stability of supply to consumers.

Such a model has been very successful in Mauritius. Fijian officials have already been to Mauritius where further discussions on this have been taking place.

Consumers will be assured of even more stable pricing through a stabilisation fund which will ensure that pricing remains constant.

The cost of doing business is also expected to fall and the flow on effects should result in a lower cost of living.

Government is also looking to fastrack all pending rural and peri-urban electrification projects, in particular where deposits have been paid by the community.

It will also work with various international agencies to speed up the expansion of the national grid.

Other benefits to look out for this year:

–  $10-million grant for iTaukei landowners.

–   Secure lease for squatters. This has already started off with the handing out of 147 leases to those who had lived much of their lives as squatters.

–  Electricity subsidy for low-income families.

–  Free water for families earning below $30,000 a year

–  Free prescribed medicine for those earning below $20,000.

– Longer opening hours at health centres, hospitals and government pharmacies.

This is a Government intent on delivering.

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 




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