Consumer watchdog calls for duties removal

Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Premila Kumar. Picture: FT FILE

FIJI’S consumer watchdog has requested Government to consider removing fiscal and excise duty from food items so consumers are able to get further bang for their buck.
In its 2018/2019 National Budget submission, the Consumer Council of Fiji has called for the removal of these duties to complement the 2015 VAT amendments and ensure further savings are passed on to the consumer.
“Generally, Fijians can expect duty charged on food and drinks to either increase or decrease each financial year,” council chief executive officer Premila Kumar said in a statement.
“Unfortunately the Council has noted that Government duty reductions on non-price control items and white goods do not always result in savings for consumers.
“The savings intended by these fiscal policies are not realised by consumers.”
The Council has also proposed that duty be removed and short periods of price control be placed on items that become essential during periods of natural disaster.
These items include products such as candles, batteries, torches, lanterns, bottled water, canned food, biscuits, ropes, etc.
“Consumers and businesses alike are looking forward to the 2018-2019 budget with various expectations of the new fiscal policies and initiatives Government will implement in the coming financial year,” Ms Kumar said.
“And the Consumer Council of Fiji anticipates that policies beneficial to consumers will again be a prominent feature of the 2018-2019 budget.”
The 2018/2019 National Budget will be announced tomorrow.

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