Kepa: Budget failed to better the lives of Fijians

Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa addresses the media after the announcement of the 2018-2019 national budget in Parliament last night. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

OPPOSITION Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa says the 2018-2019 National Budget has failed to better the lives of Fijians.

Ro Teimumu believes the National Budget announced by the Government last night should have focused on addressing Fiji’s rising cost of living.

She said of interest now would be how government would get money to fund some of the major incentives announced in the budget.

“There are I think 14 Consequential Bills which will be to fund the budget, so that means more taxes for everyone,” Ro Teimumu said.

She said her office would further scrutinise the budget and look into the hidden figures.

Ro Teimumu said some of the incentives such as zero duty on imported fruits and vegetables and more funding for health and education was good news.

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad last night described the National Budget as an “election bribe”.

“The 2018-2019 National Budget is a desperate attempt to bribe Fiji’s voters into voting the current FijiFirst Government back into power during the general election,” Prof Prasad said.

He said it was perfectly understandable why government had announced a budget full of goodies in its final year when it did nothing for the past three years.

“This Government is responsible for strangulating our people with high cost of living, a deteriorating public health and medical service, cosmetic roadworks, ruined our sugar industry, implementation of a meagre minimum wage on the face of approving for themselves an exorbitant salary and allowance scale, re-imposed VAT on basic food items and put our civil servants on contracted employment,” he claimed.

Opposition spokesperson for finance Aseri Radrodro said the budget had some good initiatives such as allowances for the pregnant mothers.
Mr Radrodro said he had a week to scrutinise the budget.