2020 – 2021 Budget: A Budget For All – Targeting Prosperity
This Budget has definitely put a smile on many faces. The Consumer Council of Fiji views the 2020-2021 National Budget as one that is aimed at building a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy in the face of challenges. The “feel good” element of this budget is that no Fijian is left out. Everyone has been provided with the much-needed support to recuperate and reconstruct their lives.
Last night’s National Budget brings good news for the consumers especially the two key announcements. One is the reduction in fiscal and import excise duties on over 1600 consumer goods/items such as food and household products. This will decrease the cost of living as these items will become more affordable to Fijian consumers. This will further ease the financial burden on consumers, hence putting money back in their pockets.
Secondly, the continuation of the existing initiatives which was announced in the COVID 19 response budget. Fijians who have difficulty in paying their water bills will now have the option to defer their payments until 31 March 2021. The EFL subsidized customers earning less than $30,000 will continue to enjoy the discounted payments for the usage of first 100 units of power through to 31 March 2021. However, the Council is urging consumers who have the means to pay their bills should continue to do so.
The Council also welcomes various other initiatives announced in the budget to assist all Fijians to sustain themselves during this unprecedented time and also notes that many incentives have been given to the existing businesses Enabling ease of doing business by scraping the business license requirements will promote more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to start businesses more conveniently. This will create more job opportunities for Fijians enabling them to sustain their livelihoods and build resilience.
There has been tax reform in the tourism sector which entails a reduction in the Service Turnover Tax (STT) and Environment & Climate Adaptation Levy (ECAL). This is expected to increase the economic activity in the tourism sector benefiting Fijians in terms of affordability and job creation as well as attract foreign investors.
The 2020-2021 National Budget is an inclusive and sustainable budget which will not only provide a stable present but also provide a roadmap for economic recovery through job creation, investment opportunities and increased economic activity.