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'You need to ask critical questions'

Ropate Valemei
Sunday, June 29, 2014

IF Value Added Tax (VAT) is slashed from 15 per cent to 10 per cent, the country will lose between $280 and $290million.

Speaking at the 2014 Westpac Prime Minister's Exporter of the Year Awards on Tuesday, Attorney-General and Minister for Public Enterprises Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said "this is a massive cut".

His comments came while briefing businessmen, investors and exporters on the consistency of policies which are the foundation of economic base.

"Now I give you few examples. You have a leader of a political party, after being appointed, saying that in a week and a half he's going to cut VAT from 15 to 10 per cent. That is 33.33 per cent cut in government revenue from VAT."

Obviously, he said, that needed to be made up from somewhere and urged businessmen to pose critical questions to political parties about the benefits of changing policies.

"You need to understand that. Similarly, many political parties are talking about taxing up the economy.

"What does it mean in practice? What are they going to do? And I think in this institute, business people, businessmen, businesswomen, you need to ask very critical questions," he said.

He urged business people at the launch to ask questions on what was the benefit in changing policies for the sake of changing policies.

"Take our neighbours for example, Australia and New Zealand and numerous other economies around the world that have a very strong foundation economic base.

"They have become successful because they have consistency in policies."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the economic success Fiji was seeing now had come about because of the consistency of the policies.

"Let me tell you, if we have another four to eight years of this consistency in policies, Fiji will have limitless opportunities and prosperity. I'm not campaigning but I think that's what is really critical for the business people to understand," he said.

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