Three tax rates no more | $1 for the rich, $2 for the poor

Water Authority of Fiji staff carting water. Picture: JONA KONATACI/FILE

The 2023-2024 National Budget will do away with the three tax rates from the past government and only have one or two different rates, says Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad.

If only one VAT rate was finalised, he said Government would prioritise the plight of the poor.

And the Labasa Chamber of Commerce has supported the Government with a formula of “taking $1 from a rich man’s pocket and putting $2 in a poor man’s pocket” in order to help the nation financially recover.

This past week, Prof Prasad told the business community the three VAT rates existed between 2011 and 2016 with zero per cent, nine per cent and 15 per cent.

“We need to consolidate (our) financial position in the sense that we need to be careful about debt,” he said.

“We may still have to borrow but need to see how best we can use funds and ensure we collect enough revenue that we will be able to spend enough and address huge challenge like infrastructure.

“Water and sewerage, with people facing water cuts everyday in Suva, we sympathise with the people.”

The Viria Project by the last government, Prof Prasad said, was a good project.

“We acknowledge that the problem of old pipe and lack of investment will still be there so we need to look at this.

“Then we have roads and bridges and old infrastructure, and we need to look at one of the worst ever health services delivered in history of this country.

“We want to bring back Public Works Department because the rural roads in Vanua Levu and other parts of rural areas in the country are very important and it needs to be made efficient.”

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