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Government announces $4.6billion budget

June 28, 2018 7:00 pm

The 2018/2019 estimated national budget that was announced by Attorney General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum last night stands at 4.6 billion dollars.

This is an increase of three hundred million dollars.

The estimated operating expenditure stands at over $2 billion, estimated capital over $1 billion while the estimated value-added tax over $69 million.

Meanwhile, the total estimated revenue is over $4.2billion.

As such, the net deficit at the time is estimated at 414 million dollars or 4.5 percent of GDP.

The 2018/2019 National budget reveals there will be a decrease on duty on fresh fruits and vegetables from five percent to zero percent.

These include apples, carrots, tea, grapes, oranges, pears, mixed vegetables, celery, capsicum, mushrooms kiwi fruits, asparagus, strawberries, leeks, spinach, apricot, peaches, plum, grapefruit, raspberries, cranberries, pomegranate, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.

Economy Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the government the decrease will ensure affordability of healthy foods, promote combating of Non-Communicable diseases and prolong longevity.

Sayed-Khaiyum says it will also encourage importation to complement local supply.

However, a higher specific duty rate of two dollars per litre on imported carbonated and sweetened drinks will be imposed.

There has also been an increase on local excise and import excise duty on cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol by 15 percent.

The Service Turnover Tax and Environment and Climate Adaptation Levy threshold of $1.25million which is currently applied for licensed restaurants, bars, clubs, bistros and coffee shops, will now be aligned to all other prescribed services for the application of STT and ECAL.

This will raise the competitiveness of smaller businesses and support their expansion, and a new provision will be included to take action against those businesses that fall under this threshold but illegally charge for and pocket false ECAL fees.

The government will also be introducing a 250% tax deduction on expenditure incurred for eligible Fijian companies investing in Research and Development in the ICT and renewable energy sectors.

To encourage training and development for employees on job, a 150% tax deduction will be provided to employers towards the cost of staff training through accredited training providers, both local and overseas.

Meanwhile, parliament will debate on the National Budget on the 9th of next month.