NEWS

Dear Mr Prasad: Some Facts About Our Economy

National Federation Party leader and Opposition spokesperson on Finance Biman Prasad made a number of remarks in Parliament about how our economy was doing. Not all is what Mr Prasad
09 Jul 2016 11:32
Dear Mr Prasad: Some Facts About Our Economy
Biman Prasad

National Federation Party leader and Opposition spokesperson on Finance Biman Prasad made a number of remarks in Parliament about how our economy was doing.

Not all is what Mr Prasad would have you believe from his contribution to the Budget debate.

A quick check reveals some examples:

 

On borrowing

$2.86billion was inherited as debt stock as at December 2006 which Government is still paying. But what is there to show for this past borrowing?

What can be seen now is that the FijiFirst Government is very strategic, cost and risk conscious when it comes to its borrowings.  They aggressively pursue blended financing.

The approval of US$31 million (F$64.6 million) grant for the Urban Water Supply and Wastewater Management Project by Green Climate Fund in late 2015 is evidential of Government’s pursuit for cheaper funds and more importantly, for funding with no repayment obligations.

 

 

On people living with disabilities

Mr Prasad stated that “Government seems to have discovered that disabled people exist and need support”.

What he does not say is that previous Governments have neglected to directly consult with them.

And to introduce policies that would encourage employers to treat them the same as able-bodied employees, increase their employability and reduce their reliance on Government.

 

On corporate tax rates

Just five years ago, tax on businesses was 55 per cent higher than what it is today, if one considers the corporate tax rate of 31 per cent.

With the reduction in tax rates and the implementation of final assessments, we need to strengthen compliance through stiffer penalties for non-compliant taxpayers who deliberately evade or avoid paying the correct taxes.

 

 

On plastic packaging

In regards to Mr Prasad’s statement for Government to urgently look at devising tax measures and incentives for alternative and environmentally friendly plastic packaging, he will be pleased to know that that Government in 2011 introduced a ban on importation of non-biodegradable plastics.

Biodegradable plastics are currently at five per cent fiscal duty, while importation of raw materials and machineries for production of biodegradable plastics were zero rated.

 

Edited Naisa Koroi

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