NEWS

2020-21 National Budget Verdict: Bold & Positive

“We’ve learned that in other economic downturns that you’ve got to spend to keep the economy going or get the money to be flowing. So they’ve taken that action. I think it’s the correct action.
19 Jul 2020 11:26
2020-21 National Budget Verdict: Bold & Positive
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, during the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation Symposium held at the Holiday Inn, Suva on July 18, 2020. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga.

Private sector leaders have labelled the 2020-2021 National Budget announced by the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, on Friday night as bold and positive.

About 100 stakeholders were part of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) symposium at the Holiday Inn Suva yesterday. themed “The New Normal-Fiji’s Economic Recovery”. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum delivered the keynote address.

Federation chief executive officer, Kameli Batiweti, said the private sector was happy with the outcome of the inaugural symposium.

Mark One Apparel Managing Director Mark Halabe said the budget was correctly optimistic and aggressive and it had to be.

“This Government decided not to go to the austerity side of running a budget. They recognised that doesn’t work,” he said.

“We’ve learned that in other economic downturns that you’ve got to spend to keep the economy going or get the money to be flowing. So they’ve taken that action. I think it’s the correct action.

“I think it’s the largest deficit the Fijian Government has ever taken. And it’s very bold and, as the minister said, it’s a big bet for the Government, but it’s a right bet to get Fiji moving, economically. It’s no good running austerity budgets, where you’re cutting back you’re increasing your taxes, where your people become more unemployed and there’s no money in the system.

that’s an absolute disaster.”

FMF Foods Limited Managing Director, Ram Bajekal, expressed similar sentiments, saying that doing business was going to be a lot easier.

“I think it was a very very bold budget that remains to be seen how it spurs and stimulates the economy as it is meant to.

“At the end of day I think the private sector and all of the sectors need to work with the government to help us get through this terrible time that we’re going through.”

Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA) chief executive officer, Fantasha Lockington, said the Government had directly responded to the industry’s needs towards recovery.

“We are confident that our members will support the initiatives to ensure that the savings are passed on to the customers, and know they are keen to provide value for money packages to rekindle the tourism industry. Government has taken a critical enabling step towards this goal,” she said.

The Association remains optimistic that quarantine-free travel will commence soon with New Zealand and Australia.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

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