Suva, Fiji, June 30, 2018
The 2018/2019 estimated national budget that was announced by Attorney General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on Thursday, June 28 stands at F$ 4.6 billion.
This accounts for an increase of F$ 300 million.
The estimated operating expenditure stands at over F$ 2 billion, estimated capital at more than F$ 1 billion and estimated Value-Added Tax at more than F$ 69 million.
Meanwhile, the total estimated revenue is over F$ 4.2 billion.
The net deficit is estimated at F$ 414 million or 4.5% of GDP.
The 2018-2019 National budget reveals that the duty on fresh fruits and vegetables, will be decreased from 5% to 0%.
These include apples, carrots, tea, grapes, oranges, pears, mixed vegetables, celery, capsicum, mushrooms kiwi fruits, asparagus, strawberries, leeks, spinach, apricot, peaches, plum, grapefruit, raspberries, cranberries, pomegranate, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that the government the decrease will ensure affordability of healthy foods, promote combating of Non-Communicable diseases and prolong longevity.
He said that it will also encourage importation to complement local supply.
However, a higher specific duty rate of F$ 2 per litre on imported carbonated and sweetened drinks will be imposed.
There has also been an increase on local excise and import excise duty on cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol by 15%.
The Service Turnover Tax and Environment and Climate Adaptation Levy threshold of F$ 1.25 million which is currently applied for licensed restaurants, bars, clubs, bistros and coffee shops, will now be aligned to all other prescribed services for the application of Service Turnover Tax (STT) and Environment and Climate Adaptation Levy (ECAL).
This will raise the competitiveness of smaller businesses and support their expansion, and a new provision will be included to take action against those businesses that fall under this threshold but illegally charge for and pocket false ECAL fees.
The government will also be introducing a 250% tax deduction on expenditure incurred for eligible Fijian companies investing in Research and Development in the ICT and renewable energy sectors.
To encourage training and development for employees on job, a 150% tax deduction will be provided to employers towards the cost of staff training through accredited training providers, both local and overseas.
The Fijian Parliament will debate on the National Budget on July 9.
Ana Ravulo is a Reporter at Fiji Broadcasting Corporation based in Suva, Fiji. The above Report has been published by Indian Newslink under a Special Agreement with FBC.
- Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on his way to Parliament to present his Budget 2018-2019
(Picture by Ronald Kumar for Fiji Sun)
- Budget Highlights by Fiji Sun
(By Special Arrangement)