Is the Government Being Responsible Enough?

Opposition Member of Parliament Rinesh Sharma has questioned the government’s responsibility.

During his budget response in parliament, Sharma criticized the government’s budget consultation process, calling it too formal and not extensive enough.

“The so-called people’s government, Mr. Speaker, accepts submissions for the budget, but the Minister for Finance did not conduct nationwide public consultations. He did not hear the voices of the public, Mr. Speaker. Is this a responsible government?” he said.

“They need to understand that Fiji’s GDP grew in 2022. The Coalition government was left in a very economically sound position, so why borrow more money and increase taxes? Mr. Speaker, debt is up to $10.9 billion, debt to GDP Ratio is $77.8 million, but the price of bread has gone up, VAT is imposed on butter. It’s a bread and butter issue. Is this a responsible government?” Sharma added.

He further stated, “To the rest of the coalition Ministers, SODELPA and PAP, for the next election, you will be defending his economic policies.”

Sharma expressed concern that the raised taxes are making it difficult for ordinary Fijians to make ends meet.

“The cost of zero-rated items is 22, and in this budget, it is expected to go up to 30. The Honorable Finance Minister believes in raising taxes to increase government income. He has labeled the government as a responsible government. VAT has increased from 9 to 15 percent, corporate tax to 25 percent. Is this a responsible government?” Sharma said.

“There’s a reduction in the threshold from 2,000 to 1,000, and 15 percent VAT is applicable. Is this a responsible government?”

“This is a big government. Everyone is a Minister and Assistant Minister with huge operating expenses. Is this a responsible government?” Sharma concluded.

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