RE­CAL­I­BRATED BUD­GET

A-G says Gov­ern­ment does not want to de­pend on aid

Fiji Sun - - FRONT PAGE - FREDERICA ELBOURNE

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Econ­omy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yes­ter­day said the Gov­ern­ment did not want to de­pend on aid.

He made the com­ment in Suva while speak­ing at the Fiji Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try’s post bud­get dis­cus­sion on Fiji’s Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery Plan.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “Our po­si­tion is this - we want rather to get the eco­nomic shackle off, and not de­pend on aid.

“Aid is psy­cho­log­i­cally de­mor­al­is­ing.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the 2020-2021 na­tional bud­get was de­signed to spur con­fi­dence and do­mes­tic in­vest­ment.

He said the na­tional bud­get was re­cal­i­brated.

A na­tional brand

“What is our brand as a coun­try?” Mr SayedKhaiy­um said.

“How can we take ad­van­tage of that? “Un­der­stand­ing also that we can not sit around twid­dling our thumbs wait­ing to re­act to cer­tain pos­i­tive changes.

“What can we do to spur the busi­ness sec­tor and in the in­for­mal sec­tor, and also to be able to spur do­mes­tic in­vest­ment, which is not nec­es­sar­ily di­rectly de­pen­dent at this point on the tourism num­bers es­ca­lat­ing?” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Adap­ta­tion Levy (ECAL) needed to stay.

“Just be­cause we’ve got COVID-19, does not mean the cy­clones will stop, does not mean the sea wa­ters aren’t ris­ing,” he said, adding 40 vil­lages needed to be re­lo­cated.

In the mid­dle of this, the Gov­ern­ment con­tin­ued the dis­tri­bu­tion of re­lief sup­plies un­der the COVID-19 sit­u­a­tion, which was costly, with con­cerns over con­tam­i­na­tion, he said.

ECAL was re­duced from 10 per cent to five per cent, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Econ­omy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Fiji Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try’s post bud­get dis­cus­sion in Suva, which was based on the theme Fiji’s Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery Plan.

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