The Ministry of Economy confirms the civil service scholarship and local postgraduate scholarship programmes will be suspended in 2020-2021 and all graduate student allowances will also be removed from the next financial year. The Ministry of Health has been allocated $394.3 million in this budget. Sayed-Khaiyum says this step will not be taken by RBF. Sayed-Khaiyum says if people have money in their FNPF general account, then they can source the benefits from there and if they do not have sufficient funds, then government will top it up. The Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economy is a Government agency responsible for the coordination of the implementation of the National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) 2018. $7.6 million has been allocated for a community programme to improve the quality of roads and enhance pedestrian safety through the construction of footpaths. He says these innovative approaches can help capture massive market and investment opportunities. The national airline says this initiative will allow controlled easing of border restrictions, making it possible for Australian and New Zealand holidaymakers to return to their favourite destination. While making the announcement, Sayed-Khaiyum says $3.67 billion has been projected for government expenditure while $1.67 billion has been allocated for revenue for the 2020/2021 National Budget. A total of 39,023 Fijian families are benefiting from the Government and EFL Electricity Subsidy Scheme as at June this year. He says these items are not for sale but to be given to athletes for free. The 2020/2021 National Budget is expected to continue to focus on the strengthening of the capacity of doctors and nurses to combat COVID-19 and keep themselves and Fijian families safe. The Attorney General has announced in the 2020/2021 National Budget that as New Zealand’s success against the virus has them on the fast track to COVID-Contained status, Fiji will soon drop any quarantine requirement for New Zealand-based travellers. Sayed-Khaiyum has also stressed to businesses that their prices must reflect the supply side discounts. Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will deliver the 2020/2021 National Budget at 7.30pm next Friday. Sayed-Khaiyum says these tough measures have to be taken as government believes raising taxes in a recession is wrong and cutting spending will mean cutting jobs and government services to the people. Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Tourism, Trade and Transport, Shaheen Ali says the government has undertaken consultations with the Fijian business community to understand the impact of COVID-19 on them. He says 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. He adds that they feel that was a mistake by government. Obviously your expenditure needs to come down too. Sayed-Khaiyum says in line with the policy across the civil service, the retirement age for those working in municipal councils will be reduced from 60 to 55 in one year’s time. Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Bulgaria. Sayed-Khaiyum had announced but they were taking some measures to reduce spending. Last month saw a major inroad where it was revealed that imported produce like carrots and celery will now be planted in the 125 acres of Nubu farms and the 42 farmers who will be farming in this land will also grow traditional Fijian staples like duruka and dalo. How do we do business? The survey revealed that 41% of staff from all businesses are on reduced working hours or days, 10% are on leave without pay and 5% have been made redundant. He also says that businesses should not misrepresent to consumers and do not pocket the benefits from the reduction of other taxes. The Institute notes that a significant portion of the budget will be funded from external sources. Sayed-Khaiyum says this is fine for now but foreign reserves could get depleted soon if we do not have tourists coming in and exports don’t pick up. The Ministry of Women altogether was allocated $127.7 million in the last budget and this year it has been increased to $159 million. [image: usp], Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum [Image: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji], ANZ Country Head and Association of Banks Board member Saud Minam, Accident Compensation Commission of Fiji CEO Parvez Akbar, National Farmers Union General Secretary Mahendra Chaudhry, Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Seema Shandil, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji Ariff Ali, CEO of Fiji Hotels and Tourism Association, Fantasha Lockington, President of Fiji Retailers Association, Vinay Kumar, Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete, Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association CEO Fantasha Lockington. He says this initiative will greatly help smaller clubs who now can get sponsorship. The Minister for Economy stresses that we need to bring back jobs and reduce taxes particularly in tourism. [image: file], Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar, General Secretary Agni Deo Singh and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman and Governor of the RBF Ariff Ali, Minister for Agriculture and Waterways Dr. Mahendra Reddy - [Photo: Fijian Government], Fiji Airways CEO and Managing Director Andre Viljoen. All those receiving the state welfare assistance in the Poverty Benefit and Care and Protection schemes are also getting $50 food vouchers for approved basic food items. The Chairman adds that they are looking at the situation positively and are hoping the COVID-19 pandemic will be over soon. While speaking in the National Budget Consultation in the western division, Viljoen says they aim to bring 300,000 people to Fiji for the duration of the Bula Bubble, once the date is confirmed. $4.5 million will be invested by the government in the development of Wakanisila community in Nasinu under the informal settlements initiative. Chaudhry adds the cost of renting office accommodation has risen exponentially under this government and a further increase of $8m is proposed in this Budget which takes the total annual cost from $27m to $35m. Fiji FA’s CEO, Mohammed Yusuf says people can now sponsor teams for as low as $500 or a lesser amount and if the sponsor goes through the Fiji FA, they will be able to qualify for the 150 percent tax exemption. Tropical Cyclone Yasa Lifted House With Man Inside, Tragic Nadi Accident Lands Seven In Hospital, HMAS Adelaide On Way Here As Part of Australia's $4.5m Humanitarian Mission, HMAS Adelaide On Way Here As Part of Australia’s $4.5m Humanitarian Mission, 7,000 Ration Packs Ready For Eastern Division, Man Charged With Attempt To Kill His Mother Granted Bail, Best Christmas Gift For 30K Tattslotto Winner And Sick Mum, Bus Checker Turned Corrections Recruit- My Success Journey, Volotu’s Family To Hold His Memorial On Christmas. Ali also reveals that more than 7,000 applications have been received for concessional loans for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises that the government had put out. The reduction of 10 percent to 5 percent for employer FNPF contributions will continue. Sayed-Khaiyum further says as Fiji looks to safely reopen to tourists, the hospitality industry can even get creative with all-inclusive options that allow us to be cost-competitive with destinations like Bali and Phuket, when they open for businesses, they will do so with a vengeance. According to the 2020/2021 National Budget, any sponsor which donates to a Fiji National Sports Commission recognised entity will receive a 150% tax deduction, with no threshold. This number is expected to rise due to increased unemployment and reduced hours. He says this means people still are being forced to pay 41% in taxes in the form of 32% duty plus 9% VAT. Lal says the budget has taken into account the interests of the wide range of stakeholders and sets the right strategies towards our road to recovery from the catastrophic effects of COVID-19. Qiliho says they are confident that they will be able to deliver again with the budgeted allocation for the Force for the next financial year. With this allocation they have other projects like completion of the three year reseals contract with a total of approximately 220km of infrastructure resealed over the three years. It says that the revenue policy environment has become very challenging as revenue levels continue to decline. Kumar says they have also asked for funds in the completion of Koroipita in Lautoka so that homes are provided for underprivileged people in the community. He says the grants will focus on sports that are preparing for the upcoming Olympics that will feature the Men’s and Women's Sevens teams and a few other sports. With the confirmation that an additional 115,000 people are unemployed in the country, the Social Welfare Department confirms they have started receiving cases of people who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kumar says they are looking at corridor studies like zoning McGregor Road in Suva, Kennedy Avenue in Nadi and Sunset Point in Korotogo, Sigatoka completely as commercial. Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirms the unemployment benefits announced in the 2020/2021 National Budget will be for five weeks after an application is made and an assessment will be done after five weeks to ascertain what has happened to the person who is receiving the benefit. An allocation of $3.5 million is provided for rural water carting to communities in non-metered areas during periods of drought, water disruption and during the current recovery period from COVID-19 pandemic. Lal says the borrowing is in line with the global trend and benchmarking with other well-developed countries as we are still well placed with the borrowing ratio. The budget for OPM in 2019-2020 is $17.6 million, comprising $12.7 millionfor operating expenditure, $4.4 millionfor capital expenditure and VAT of $0.5 million. He says government will subsidize up to $400 for the first 150,000 tourists and the amount will be split between Fiji Airways and the hotel property. [image: File], President of the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nur Bano Ali, Fiji Retailers Association President Vinay Kumar, Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Tourism, Trade and Transport, Shaheen Ali. He say they will also look at the Women’s 15s Rugby World Cup which Fiji qualified for last year. The CEO of Fiji Hotels and Tourism Association, Fantasha Lockington says they are delighted the Government has delivered by providing relief for both import and excise duties and tax surcharge. Lockington says we have to work together to get Fiji on a speedy path to economic recovery and they know tourism can do this. The Fiji Labour Party is questioning why the annual grant to the Fijian Broadcasting Corporation has been maintained at $11.27 million while many other organisations were forced to accept a cut while FBC CEO, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says they have submitted all their audited reports up to 2019. It is this Committee that confirms and releases the forecast and provisional GDP, exports, imports and balance of payments estimates for Fiji. She says in this time when a country goes through a recession, as a Ministry they need to focus on planning, change in policies and reviewing procedures so that they can streamline the system and reduce any wastage if there is any. Dr. Reddy says they will also be providing rice seeds up to 30kg to every non-sugarcane farmer and will also assist them to mill their rice for home consumption by providing small portable rice mills close to their area when rice paddy is ready for milling. The total capital expenditure for government for the next National Budget is expected to be around $1.208 billion, higher by around $110.4 million or 10.1 percent compared to 2019-2020 National Budget. The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Economy, Makereta Konrote says because of the impact of COVID-19, government revenue has been severely affected and they are currently in discussions with their multilateral partners for the financing of the National Budget. In his statement, Professor Biman Prasad is questioning whether the RBF was under pressure from the government to continue to pretend that there was a “Bainimarama Boom” – when everybody knew differently. She says this is done so that when our economy improves and the border restrictions are lifted, Fiji will be ready for business. According to the 2020/2021 National Budget Supplement, a sum of $1.5 million has been allocated to assist the private sector with the development costs associated with large construction projects. Meanwhile, 33,000 families have received the seed packages from the Agriculture Ministry’s Farming Response for Backyard Gardening Package. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday morning reached the Ministry of Finance in the North Block, ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget 2020-2021 in Parliament. He says people may get re-employed after the five week period and this is the kind of checks and balances they have to put in place. He says they are establishing new breeds for cattle, goats, and sheep to be given out to farmers and these new breeds will replace the low yielding breeds which have lost their original genetic traits due to inbreeding over time. The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, last night announced a $3.67 billion national budget for the financial year 2020-2021, aimed at the recovery of the Fijian economy after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Ali says the Macroeconomic Committee has been consistently downgrading the 2019 growth forecast since early last year. Qiliho says the budget also provides for the completion of phase two of the restructure program. Meanwhile, the Transport Infrastructure Investment Sector Project is financed through Asian Development Bank and World Bank loans of US$100 million and US$50 million respectively, supplementing the Government investment. Sayed-Khaiyum says one third of our workforce have either lost their jobs or are on reduced hours. The Association of Banks in Fiji has reassured the Minister for Economy as part of their submission for the 2020/2021 National Budget that they will continue to assist the customers who are unable to make loan repayments even if they are unable to pay after their loan repayment holiday. The government says the massive reduction in taxes announced in the 2020/2021 National Budget is expected to stimulate business and consumption activity. While it is obvious the tourism industry and non-tourism businesses both need financial support, the survey has recommended more support for the informal sector of the economy. President of Fiji Retailers Association, Vinay Kumar says the 2020/21 National Budget may be the biggest stimulus budget that we may have ever come across in modern history in Fiji. Minam says we have to understand that not only customer risk but portfolio risk and country risk is associated with it. For businesses, Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Shaheen Ali, said: “They are provided soft loans at the moment.”. For starters, only students who earn marks above 250 on their Year 13 exams will qualify. Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the government has given approval for a private jet to come in with a group of 30 high net worth individuals from a well-known company. Prasad says the prudent measure to cushion the impact of high cost of living to the ordinary workers and citizens and the unemployed would have been to remove VAT on basic food items and prescription medicine. The Ministry also says that while the government has scaled down a number of programmes in the 2020-2021 National Budget, it will continue with existing initiatives and introduce new measures to support the unemployed, the small and medium businesses and tourism. She was seen holding a red bahi khata. He says to brace for the “new normal” they have announced Fiji’s biggest-ever tax cut –– a discount of hundreds of millions of dollars, with strategic incentives across age-old industries as well as new arenas –– such as manufacturing and assembly –– which nations are looking to relocate to price competitive locales. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji’s target markets were Australia and New Zealand under the Bula Bubble. Sayed-Khaiyum made this comments after Nadi Chamber of Commerce President, Doctor Ram Raju asked him on whether the Reserve Bank of Fiji can print $1 billion and give it to the Ministry of Economy at a zero percent interest rate. Sayed-Khaiyum says so for mid-sized tourism operators and other businesses like restaurants, rental car companies and cafes, ECAL is dropping to zero. The Minister says the government knows that this is a good time to build and they are looking at options. This will see the continuation of free education and bus fare subsidy. Dialogue Fiji Executive Director, Nilesh Lal says when expansionary budgets are formulated, reducing wasteful expenditure and inefficiencies should always be an objective. He adds they will be taking the next year to review these payments to determine when and if they’ll resume. Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has said announced the Ministry of Health will get $40million in the COVID-19 supplementary appropriation bill 2020. And any profit they make selling the newly developed lots will be tax exempt. Courts Fiji’s Chief Marketing Officer Anil Senewiratne. He says edible oil still carries a 15% duty with concessions available to retailers, and lentils or dhal, another basic food item still carries a duty of 5%. The National Budget will be announced on July 17. MINISTRY OF ECONOMY P.O Box 2212, Government Buildings, Suva, Fiji; Tele: (679) 3307011, Fax: (679) 3308654Website: www.economy.gov.fj Email: EconomyInformation@economy.gov.fj Ro Lalabalavu House, 370 Victoria Parade, Suva 16th October 2020 To: … “All they want to do is to capture the market. In addition to this, government is also expected to continue providing initiatives to increase rice farming where the Ministry of Agriculture is already providing rice seeds up to 30kg (for 1-acre farms) to every sugarcane farmer. Meanwhile, Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation Symposium that there is a need to have more Police officers. He says this tax cut’s biggest savings are also targeted at tourism. Permanent Secretary for Sugar, Yogesh Karan says the guaranteed cane price of $85 per tonne will remain and has also asked cane farmers not to panic. Sayed-Khaiyum adds the Savusavu Chamber of Commerce will work alongside town administrators to integrate the model’s various environmental safeguards. Fijivillage has received information that the Fiji Rugby Union had submitted that they wanted $1.7 million to focus on the preparation for the Men’s and Women's 7s teams to the Olympic Games next year. This means, the prices of a number of items that people purchase every day have been reduced and a number of taxes have all been reduced. Budget 2020 has also been released on the Budget website: https://budget.govt.nz. The government is currently spending more than $105 million a year to assist Fijians through various programs. Karan says he thinks the Economy Minister did not have time to explain in detail the methodology of the payments in his budget speech. Being able to travel to each other’s country.”. He had said that pay cut, will remain through the next year. He says the $15 per tonne shortfall of the first three cane payments will be made up in the fourth and final wash-up cane payment in October 2021, which falls in the next financial year, with the government paying the remaining balance. FNPF will also allow withdrawals for those who have been unemployed for more than 6 months and who could not withdraw before. TELS technical college students’ entry age will also be increased from 15 years to 17 years. Chaudhry has labeled the reduction a gross breach of trust adding that the government has reneged on a promise it made to the farmers during the 2018 general election campaign to pay a guaranteed cane price of $85 a tonne for the next three years (2019-2021). According to the 2020/2021 National Budget Estimates, the Fiji Sports Commission has been allocated $970,465 with $1 million allocated for overseas sports tournaments. Minister for Tourism Faiyaz Koya says the government has done their part by reducing the Environment and Climate Adaptation Levy and Service Turnover Tax and it is now up to the resorts and hotels to do theirs. Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says with the regularization of more Special Constables in the next financial year, he expects to see the services to pick up in many folds. The parliamentary secretariat has also confirmed that the National Budget debate will take place from Monday 27th July to Friday 31st July 2020. $4.8 million has been allocated to improve water distribution systems. He adds that they are moving away from lump sum payment or withdrawals because a lot of people have complained that when lump sum payments are made, some people are tempted to buy things like TV. The 2020 Budget Objectives and Thrust 20. Kumar says each municipality is conducting the rate profiling exercise now. Weekly Newsletter. Sayed-Khaiyum has confirmed that Fiji will soon drop quarantine requirements for NZ tourists. Fiji FA’s CEO, Mohammed Yusuf says these sporting equipment are given by FIFA, the Oceania Football Confederation and other overseas-based donor agencies. “One of the key things is confidence and the confidence of people to interact with each other. It was announced in the National Budget Address that the Motor Vehicle Accident Levy will be reduced by 50% effective from 1st August 2020 to 31st July 2021. The Institute says the government has announced that they will be borrowing at very concessional terms. There will be a repayment holiday of up to 6 months on credit cards and six months principal and interest holiday on home loans. Office of the Prime Minister 2019-2020 Budget. The 6 percent Service Turnover Tax has been eliminated and ECAL or Environment Climate Adaptation Levy will go down from 10 percent to 5 percent. Sayed-Khaiyum says duties on goods are significantly reasonable at the moment and there have been concerns raised in the past where the reduction of duties have not been passed on to the consumers. Lal says they also note that the tourism sector has received the much needed assistance in this budgetary process and they encourage the government to continue to work and focus on other sectors in order to diversify our economy further. He says we have come this far and we can’t be too far to see the end of the current situation. But he says to grant flexibility to those still paying back loans, TELS repayments will be suspended another year, until 31st December 2021. He however says as the economy stabilizes, they believe that the diversification of the economy needs to be pursued with much greater resolve. He adds people have been pushed to think outside the box and create their own opportunities through the micro, small and medium business incentive. Budget Speech. Professor Prasad has questioned as to how the RBF got Fiji’s economic growth rate for 2019 wrong and why has it taken until July this year for the RBF to admit that in 2019 the economy went down and not up. Senewiratne says this is a budget to stimulate the economy. Sayed-Khaiyum had also announced they will also be cutting salaries for all Permanent Secretaries and the CEOs and Heads of Commissions and Independent Bodies by 10%, effective from 1st August 2020. Kumar adds they understand the government’s point of view where revenue has reduced due to COVID-19 which is no fault of theirs but the private and the public sector will need to work together to keep businesses afloat. She says it is better for them to complete the existing projects rather than asking for more. He says government funded resources are targeted where they are needed the most. The Minister highlighted that for the 2020-2021 financial year they will focus on completing capital projects which include the Lautoka Swimming pool. Ali says because the National Budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 was delayed to July, the Macroeconomic Committee met in early July instead of the usual May or early June. He says it is also good to see the food processing companies like Fiji Coconut Millers or the Rice Company. “If the revenue is drying up. The Minister of Economy Lachezar Borisov signed six investment certificates under the Investment Promotion Act (IPA) with a total value of over BGN 110 million, which are expected to create nearly 600 new jobs. Kumar says the building which includes the changing room and the toilet facility is yet to be completed while only two percent of the works in the swimming pool is left. Abraham stresses that they will do fair assessments for the businesses and consumers. He says market survey has shown that Fijian resorts and hotels can be overpriced, especially when it comes to food and beverage services adding that as an immediate effect of these tax cuts, they expect the price structures for rooms, food, alcohol –– basically everything –– to drop precipitously. Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association CEO, Fantasha Lockington is hoping that some relief is provided by the government by reducing import and excise duties and taxes to assist the tourism sector. The Supplement to the 2020-2021 Budget Address discusses Fiji’s current macroeconomic and fiscal position and forward projections for the next three years. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time. [image: Fijian Govt], Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. It says this will create new employment opportunities and absorb workers that have been laid-off during the pandemic. Ali says the press release issued on 2nd July regarding the 2019 growth rate says that the provisional GDP growth estimate for 2019 has been revised from a marginal 0.5% growth to a 1.3%t contraction, in line with the synchronised global slowdown and weakness in domestic demand from the second half of last year. Shandil says the reduction of duties and taxes for over 1,600 goods will greatly benefit all consumers. The National Budget will be announced on July 17th. The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation has been allocated $159.0 million in the 2020-2021 National Budget. He says this is helping us to bring the import bill down, and we should encourage more people to buy local to help the local businesses because that is what will keep the economy going and that will ensure that people are employed. He says Fiji’s economy is now being reset. 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