NEWS

Announcement Of 2020-21 Budget Set For July 17

With the tourism sector feeling the full brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting the country’s major revenue and employment source, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there was a need for assistance to help sustain those affected.
26 Jun 2020 12:23
Announcement Of 2020-21 Budget Set For July 17

The government will announce the National Budget for the 2020-2021 financial year on July 17, Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said yesterday.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was speaking during his first nationwide budget consultations at the Sai Hall, Sigatoka, and Civic Centre in Nadi yesterday.

He said he wanted to hear from the people on their ideas of moving forward, considering the challenges they encountered.

He assured those present that the budget should bring confidence.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Government planned to further open the country’s economy and ignite more domestic activity.

 

Opening borders

He said while it was critical to open up the economy, there was also a need to manage health risks.

Referencing New Zealand’s resurgence of COVID-19 cases, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji was taking a measured approach, but at the same time allowing the economic activity.

With the tourism sector feeling the full brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting the country’s major revenue and employment source, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there was a need for assistance to help sustain those affected.

“If the revenue is drying up. Obviously your expenditure needs to come down too. But at the same time, we need to provide a particular level of assistance. A lot of people are unemployed,” he said.

Tourism market strategies

The A-G said Fiji Airways was talking to more than 30 hotels on developing tourist packages because there was competition from Bali, Phuket and Queensland.

“I got some information about hotels in Bali. They are significantly slicing their rates,” he said.

“All they want to do is to capture the market. They are willing to make losses for the first three months as long as they get the people coming in. Or break-even.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji’s target markets were Australia and New Zealand under the Bula Bubble.

 

careFIJI app

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed that 24,000 people had downloaded the app.

“Reality of the matter is there is a new norm now in the world. How do we do business? How do we interact? How do we travel? It is all going to change,” he said.

“One of the key things is confidence and the confidence of people to interact with each other. Being able to travel to each other’s country.”

Permanent Secretary for Economy Makareta Konrote said they were assessing the received submissions and were in discussions with the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service before they were submitted for ministerial review.

For businesses, Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Shaheen Ali, said: “They are provided soft loans at the moment.”

He said more than 1000 forms had been distributed for businesses that had difficulty in cash flow.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

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