THE poor in this country deserve immediate relief — this situation simply cannot continue.
This was one of the opening remarks made yesterday by National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad at a committee meeting in Tamavua where Prof Prasad claimed poverty rates in the country were a "crime against the people".
"It is the duty of any government to look after the poor," Prof Prasad said.
"Increase in VAT from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent, rise in duties for basic products such as milk, flour, rice and kerosene. This is shocking."
Prof Prasad said the lives of the poor were progressively getting worse.
"Take for example, the reduction in income tax, which is not progressive at all. Why reduce an already lower tax for people earning more than $100,000 yet increase VAT from 12.5 to 15 per cent? It doesn't make sense.
"NFP will reduce VAT from 15 per cent to 10 per cent immediately. There is overwhelming support for this recommendation from the people throughout the country.
"NFP will thoroughly review all fiscal duties and the current exchange rate policy. It will look at possible reforms in order to reduce the cost of living so that our long suffering poor have a better life."