NEWS

2020-21 National Budget: What’s In It For Other Sectors

“To incentivise investments in water infrastructure, investors and developers will no longer be required to cover investments fully upfront. Payments can be scheduled within three months of a projects’ construction, including the requirement to safeguard government expenditure through bank guarantees.”
18 Jul 2020 16:17
2020-21 National Budget: What’s In It For Other Sectors

Policies which will continue:

  • Free education will continue.
  • Free textbooks will be provided.
  • Subsidised transportation to school will be paid for.
  • Free medicine will be paid for.
  • Fijians can continue accessing free healthcare.
  • NGOs Government works with will continue to be funded.

And our most vulnerable citizens will continue to receive special efforts from the government to ensure they keep pace with the rest of their nation throughout our recovery.

Fiji Roads Authority

The Fiji Roads Authority will receive a $348.9 million allocation in this year’s budget –– up from $276.5 million in our COVID-19 Response Budget, with $70 million allocated for road rehabilitation.

Building/upgrading hospital

If you build or upgrade a hospital, depending on your level of investment, you can be granted up to a 20-year tax holiday on your new hospital or up to a 60% tax deduction on your renovation works.

Policy changes have been done to the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum last night announced: “For TELS, we’re making some policy changes to raise the qualifying standards for students and lower costs. For starters, only students who earn marks above 250 on their Year 13 exams will qualify.

“We’re also lowering TELS and Topper’s Scholarships available, among with some other belt-tightening measures. But to grant flexibility to those still paying back loans, TELS repayments will be suspended another year, until 31 December 2021.”

Foreign Mission spending cut:

The government will be cutting $8 million in spending across its foreign missions by centralising country accreditation.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said: “Our missions in Washington DC, Seoul, Port Moresby, Brussels and Kuala Lumpur will be closed permanently, because –– in a changing trade and investment landscape –– they do not reliably make returns on government’s investment in their operations.”

“Instead, our remaining embassies in Geneva, New York, Tokyo, London, Abu Dhabi, Wellington, Beijing, Jakarta, New Delhi and Canberra will expand country accreditation and engage more locally-based staff. For example, the New York Mission will represent Fiji in Washington, which is only one hour away by plane.”

Sugarcane price drop

For two straight seasons Government has paid cane growers $85 per tonne –– a value far above the world market price. And last season’s guaranteed price will be paid. But in the final third season of the arrangement, the payment will be reduced, meaning the guaranteed price for cane will be reduced from $85 to $70 –– but all other support to cane growers will continue.

“Once our larger economic recovery gets underway, the bottom-line of our cane growers will be among our first priorities.”

Teachers’ salary increment

Salary increments for teachers who obtain new qualifications will now be approved and paid in the next financial year. But those pay rises will be backdated.

Water Authority of Fiji/Energy Fiji Ltd Relief

Those who are not able to pay their water bills for genuine reason will be provided some further relief.

“As announced in the COVID-19 Response Budget, those who can pay their water bills must pay them. However, those who genuinely cannot afford to do so would have payments deferred rather than be disconnected. That policy will be extended to 31 March 2021.

“To incentivise investments in water infrastructure, investors and developers will no longer be required to cover investments fully upfront. Payments can be scheduled within three months of a projects’ construction, including the requirement to safeguard government expenditure through bank guarantees.”

Electricity:

For subsidised customers of Energy Fiji Limited, the first 100 units of power will continue to be discounted through 31 March of next year, with government and EFL each covering 50 per cent of this subsidy to ensure these customers pay only VAT on their first 100 units of power every month.  For grid extension projects, EFL will consider –– on a case-by-case basis –– payment schedules up to six months or more for large capital investments.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedbackjyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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