Criticism Rises Over National Minimum Wage Hike

The Coalition Government’s recent decision to increase the National Minimum Wage by 50 cents from August 1, and by another 50 cents next April, has drawn criticism from Leader of Opposition Inia Seruiratu.

During his budget response in Parliament yesterday, Mr. Seruiratu argued that workers at the lower end of the employment ladder deserve a living wage.

“The increase in minimum wages is welcome, but many workers believe that the 50 cents rise falls short of compensating for significant hikes in prices for basic goods, food items, and services,” Mr. Seruiratu stated.

He pointed out that the ongoing increase in the cost of living should be a concern for the Government. “In April, our inflation rate rose to 7.1 percent, the highest observed in the last decade, according to newspaper reports.”

Mr. Seruiratu noted that the price rises have largely been driven by the VAT increase introduced in the previous year’s budget.

He emphasized that once goods prices rise, it is challenging to reverse the hikes. “The Government’s reluctance to reduce VAT from 15 percent to 9 percent in the current budget to alleviate the high cost of living is concerning. This shows a lack of compassion for the underprivileged in our communities.”

Mr. Seruiratu concluded by warning that when prices increase, the poor suffer the most, becoming poorer while the rich continue to get richer.


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