Budget 2022-23

Saqamoli budget says NFP

July 18, 2022 11:45 am

[File Photo]

The National Federation Party has labelled the Inflation Mitigation Package by the government, which aims to assist the vulnerable, as tokenism and peanuts.

The NFP is the latest political party to give its feedback on the 2022–2023 National Budget, calling it a Saqamoli Budget.

NFP Leader Profesor Biman Prasad claims it is a debt budget that will only increase the debt burden of every Fijian to over $11,100 by the end of the 2022-23 Final Year on July 31st, 2023″.

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He says the package will hardly alleviate the severe hardship caused by exorbitantly high fuel prices, cost of basic food and essential goods.

According to the NFP Leader, the $1 a day for a child for six months is ill-conceived and more about electioneering than genuine assistance, because students from wealthy families and those with combined incomes of more than $50,000 per year will also be eligible for $180.

Prasad says the budget is a tragic testimony to Fiji of the government’s 15-year leadership.

He says the Minister for Economy describes the illusory economic growth based on consumption from pent-up demand as “still a long way off from the pre-Covid levels as Bula Boom.”

Prasad says the Minister has failed to explain why the debt burden on every citizen of Fiji has increased.

The NFP Leader also took the time to question the Prime Minister’s average overseas travel allowance.

He claims Bainimarama receives $3,000 per day for this.

He says cabinet ministers are entitled to free accommodation and meals for all official local travel, but people from combined family incomes of less than $50,000 per year receive only $1 per day per child.

Prasad stated that this is the two-man rule’s vision of a common and equal citizenry, who boast that they are not leaving anyone behind.

Meanwhile, yesterday, The People’s Alliance Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka said while Fiji’s economic status is unstable, the government has decided to go loose on a spending spree for the next six months.

The two parties had signed an MOU to work together in the build-up to the election, and there was a possibility of a coalition post-election.

Their views on the budget, particularly on the Inflation Mitigation Package, do not go in line, as while Prasad wished more could have been given, Rabuka thinks otherwise.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says the government has never stroke for short-term gains or treated elections as a yardstick for making economic policy announcements.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the government prioritizes the economy and the long-term livelihoods of Fijians.