A-G: Rule applies to all

MINISTER for Economy and Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has reiterated that the rule of law applies to all.

He made the comment at the national budget consultation in Savusavu on Saturday after a request for Government to consider sparing the Planters Club from Service Turnover Tax and Environment Tax.

Club president, Mod Singh made this plea describing the club’s financial status as a “struggle”.

“Our submission is to request that Government consider giving relief from turnover tax and environment tax to local private social clubs as we are struggling financially,” he said.

“We also ask that local private clubs with turnover less than $600,000 annually be exempt from STT and ET.”

Mr Singh said last year, the club made a net profit of $11,373, but its total tax payments amounted to $33,539.

But Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said : “When we make these policies, it cannot only be about a particular bar. The rule of law applies to all and what can actually happen is if we give exemption, what about the people developing in Viti Levu and around the country?

“Compliance is a big issue and we need to ensure that whatever law is put in place is applied equally to all.

“The idea with STT and environment tax is to cost subsidise so alcohol is seen as a luxury item, some people call it a sin item but these items have a lot better taxes than taxing grog. When we collect that money, we are able to pay for better roads and education and other needs of the country.”

Mr Saiyed-Khaiyum added Government had focused to mix and change the capital and operational expenditures.

“In 2004 total amount of money operational expenditures were 83 per cent and 17 per cent for capital expenditure,” he said.

“Now we have 60 per cent for capital expenditure and 40 per cent for operational.

“Operational expenditures are money that goes towards hiring of halls, airfares to travel but capital expenditures are used to build roads, nursing stations, schools and we have changed the mix now.”

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