Letters To The Editor, 8th November, 2015.

‘Well done’ budget Keith Gregory , Lautoka Once again the FijiFirst Government has done well in its budget in regards to the reduction of VAT and eliminating taxes for most
08 Nov 2015 10:17
Letters To The Editor, 8th November, 2015.

‘Well done’ budget
Keith Gregory , Lautoka
Once again the FijiFirst Government has done well in its budget in regards to the reduction of VAT and eliminating taxes for most medications for lower income people.
Many people I know here have a disability or a disease requiring medication. I myself was injured in a motorbike accident many years ago in Australia and am in the same boat so know what a strain it is to have to get ongoing medications for chronic pain.
It’s often asked by many, me included, where’s the cash coming from?
Well most of it is coming from FRCA’s much better system of collections which have got the revenue growing at a high clip since 2006 and this has been monitored by me regardless of where I am.
Another pleasant change upon my return was that the threat of FICAC was enough to get the corrupt and stupid to be compliant as to their work and duties ……a great benefit to the vast majority of public servants who do the right things often under trying circumstances.
However, there are things that still need enormous improvement in this area.
Your paper has featured for many years the fact that the “leakage” of income from Tourism and other areas of the economy is in the region of 80 cents in the dollar. That’s the amount of money remitted abroad when the Tourism sector is dominated by overseas companies. Sugar is 70 cents in the dollar staying here. That’s almost mirror reverse tourism!
Of course another area that is missing is remittances. Here you have 100 cents in the dollar supporting the market vendors, bus drivers, tailors and others in the real economy where people live, i.e., all of the money sent by relatives to Fiji (including me when I was in Australia) stays in the Fijian economy.
Surely the strategy should revolve around getting the place less dependent on this as it is number three in the income stakes, yes more than sugar!
In Darwin we had a building there that was at first a massive hole in the ground ….so big the crane sitting in it was actually invisible if you were looking across the hole rather than down it.
See they get that hole right then the building, the tallest in Darwin is set to stay in one piece in an earth tremor and cyclone prone city.
Same with this government, I believe they are working on the foundations for Fiji and so far getting it right by often very unorthodox policies of the type that have had even me scratching my head!
However, as the former PNG PM, Sir Michael Somare, said: “Your talking development, it’s at the grassroots level with practical policies that mean something to the people at large and are local ideas for local situations.”
However they seem to be working. In closing I ask the powers that be to diligently and mercilessly seek out and punish those businesses who will continue to overcharge for items on the old VAT when the new nine per cent comes in.
This profiteering has no place in a Fiji which is what the world should be.
Maybe a shame column in your paper would be a great deterrant? Keep it up..

Boxing gym
Sukha Singh, Labasa
Could the Ministry of Sports build a boxing gymnasium in Labasa where we can train and also have weekly competitions?
We wish to revive amateur boxing here but because of the lack of financial backing we had to put a stop to it.
I should have contacted the Minister for Sports earlier but than I thought to do it after the 2016 budget announcement.

Democracy and polls
Tomasi Boginiso, Nasinu
My expression is not to get rid of the chiefly system as stated by Amenatave Yaconisau but even if or without the GCC the chiefly system will remain as before, now and in the future.
Has any chiefly inheritance or status lost since the abolishment of the GCC. Or in that matter village life or its daily cores nothing has changed. Its the peoples mindset that think that its changing.
Most of the Fijian people has not noticed any change from having the GCC or not, because it doesn’t put food on their table.
Their traditional role is still intact, they still know who drinks the first bowl and who has the next one, and everyone still knows where they are are suppose to be seated in any ceremonial or occasion in the village.
If the GCC was solving the issues that are of more importance like rape, unemployment, living standard, abuses and a lot more, I would then say it should be restored .
I would never want to readdress the issue because my village, cultural and chiefly system has always have intact, my province, tikina, mataqali and tokatoka hasn’t notice any progress at all when the GCC was in place. I’d say we are much happier now than ever before.

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