DPM refutes claims on across the board price increases

April 19, 2024 4:45 pm

Opposition MP Jone Usamate (left), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad refuted claims made by Opposition MP Jone Usamate regarding an increase in all prices of goods and items.

Prof. Prasad emphasizes that only a few items have seen price increases, a fact that can be verified by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission.

He urges members of the opposition to refrain from spreading misinformation and stated that the government is diligently addressing issues left behind by the previous administration instead of focusing on moving Fiji forward.

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“They don’t want to hear the truth because this is what they do. They go out there and lie to the people that everything has gone up because of the budget. Mr Speaker, in the budget, we reduce duties on a number of items.”

Usamate had earlier raised concerns about the high cost of living during parliamentary proceedings, prompting Prasad to clarify the situation.

“The price of everything has gone up. Everything. Nothing where the price has gone down. Everything has gone up. Not just food items. Wherever you pay VAT, that price has gone up. And it’s affecting everybody right across this country. To a large degree, people’s incomes have not moved up. So when your income is not moving up, and the things that you’re paying, the prices are going up, what happens? You are creating more and more hardship.”

Prof Prasad says the coalition government has the various government subsidies in place to help Fijians at the same time work to increase people’s salaries.

“Now, the important thing for us as a parliament, as a government and including those in opposition that we have to understand that we have to find ways to increase the income, put more money into the pockets of people.”

The Finance Minister highlights that the government continues to produce social welfare assistance together with the free health schemes, EFL and water subsidies to help mitigate the rising cost of living.

Prasad highlighted that the prices of certain items have seen a reduction which includes edible oil, butter, liquid milk, powdered milk, baby milk, canned fish, salt, margarine, tea leaf, potatoes, onion, garlic.