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Manufacturers Association: Need For A Visionary Budget

The Fiji Manufacturers Association says the 2016 National Budget needs to be a visionary one which sets clearly the future long-term objectives. Association’s Interim President, Daksesh Patel, said: “We need
03 Nov 2015 08:14
Manufacturers Association: Need For A Visionary Budget

The Fiji Manufacturers Association says the 2016 National Budget needs to be a visionary one which sets clearly the future long-term objectives.

Association’s Interim President, Daksesh Patel, said: “We need consistency and stability.

“It needs to be different and bold. The country should accept some short term pain for long term gain.”

The comments come as the 2016 National Budget will be announced this Friday by the Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The association believes that maintaining current policies which affects the manufacturing sector is important and must not deviate or make lot of changes.

“The central issue for us is productivity-based wage growth,” he said.

“This is important to maintain economic competitiveness and also it fair to both the employees and the employers.

“The recent minimum wage increase certainly was very generous but this cannot continue if we do not benchmark future wage reviews with productivity index.”

 

Areas to concentrate

Mr Patel said the association feels maintaining current policy on taxation and public sector liberalisation must continue.

“The incentives for investors in terms tax break and other incentives to manufacturers must also continue. We need consistency and stability,” he said.

“The government must seriously consider promoting competition and opening up more ports so there can be more private sector participation.

“Competition in these essential services will improve efficiency and put downward pressure on cost which will ultimately benefit both the businesses and consumers. Similarly for telecommunications sector too.”

Mr Patel said Government’s priority should be to continue spending in infrastructure and building capacity for future growth.

“Education and health care are also equally important. We need more skilled workforce so Government spending in technical schools can be useful,” he said.

 

Looking back

In terms of the past Budget, Mr Patel said various incentives provided for investors in the budget had a positive impact on investor confidence.

“This lead to record investment within the private sector mainly driven by locally-based investors,” he said.

“It is also worth noting that Government policies has been consistent and this augers well for investors giving them confidence to make decisions for long term investment.

“We naturally want this to continue. The strong fiscal policies and effective management of financial sector lead to lowest interest rate with low inflation – this again benefited both the businesses and consumers.”

 

Consultations

In terms of the budget consultations held this year around the country, Mr Patel said it is always good to engage with all to understand various concerns.

“However, I equally feel it sometimes lacks focus on what we as a nation would like to achieve in the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.

 




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