NEWS

Ratepayers Raise Issues During Consultations

A number of ratepayer issues were resolved during the Budget consultation at the Hot Springs Hotel in Savusavu on Wednesday. The consultations were led by Attorney-General and Minister for Economy
18 Mar 2022 11:25
Ratepayers Raise Issues During Consultations

A number of ratepayer issues were resolved during the Budget consultation at the Hot Springs Hotel in Savusavu on Wednesday. The consultations were led by Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Praneel Prasad, a peanut and bean seller for  10 years, said Savusavu Town Council (STC) was not allowing him to sell homemade juice at Savusavu Bus Stand.

“We are only allowed to sell peanuts, beans and bara; I want to know why new rules came in,” Mr Prasad said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum asked the council’s chief executive officer Seema Dutt for a response.

Ms Dutt said that Mr Prasad’s issue was addressed before with the Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar.

“We had verbally and also in a letter explained our position,” she said.

“There are roti parcel sellers and juice vendors sell from their stall and Mr Kumar has be given the opportunity to sell peanut and bean and in this way the council made sure everyone is able to make money,” Ms Dutt said.

Mr Prasad said people have the right to economic participation and should be allowed to sell whatever they want.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said no one could instantly change policy, rules and regulations made by the ministry.

“The council is making sure all vendors are given equal opportunity and safety measures are followed when it comes to handling food,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Mod Singh of Nish Investments in Savusavu requested that STC install traffic lights because there were none and also install parking metres in Savusavu Town.

In response Ms Dutt said the council had engaged into discussions to have traffic lights in Savusavu Town.

“As for the parking metres, all councils have made orders and the supplier will send them from overseas,” Ms Dutt said.

Mr Sayed Khaiyum explained that the supplier chain has been affected and it takes more time for the shipment to reach Fiji than before.

“Freight cost has increased and many businesses are trying to meet the cost,” he said.

“This is why we see an increase in some items such as food and fuel.”

 

Facts about debt

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in Fiji’s debt level to over 80 per cent of GDP at the end of 2021.

Prior to COVID-19, the debt to GDP ratio was on a steady downward path declining from 56.2 per cent in 2010 to 43.5 per cent pre-Winston. This was a 13 percentage point decline in six years.

After COVID-19 pandemic, tax revenues fell by 50 per cent with the Government losing almost $2.8 billion in total.

 

Fijian economy is now in recovery mode

He said the Fijian economy was projected to grow by 11.3 per cent in 2022, 8.5 per cent in 2023 and 7.7 per cent in 2024.

“It will take at least three years for the economy to return to pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

“Timely access to vaccines and effective rollout has been key to reopening the economy and international borders.

Income support of over $500 million assisted those unemployed/reduced hours, provided much needed fiscal stimulus for business activity and helped increase our vaccination rates.”

He added Government had introduced various measures to support businesses, rebuild competitiveness of the tourism industry and entice new investments.

Feedbackshratikan@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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