22nd August 05:48 AM
Govt has stabbed the stomach of our people by putting 9% VAT on basic food items - Prasad
By Vijay Narayan, Dhanjay Deo and Mohammed Feroz
Wednesday 17/10/2018
National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad campaigning in Tabia, Labasa with the NFP team

National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad says this government has stabbed in the stomach of our people by putting 9% VAT on basic food items that were previously zero rated.

Professor Prasad made this comment at a campaign meeting in Tabia, Labasa last night where he told the people that basic food items should not attract VAT and the FijiFirst had also promised in their 2014 manifesto that they will ensure VAT on the listed basic food items will be at zero percent.

He says based on this and some threats and other nonsense that some things will go away like the free bus fare, people then went and voted for FijiFirst in 2014.

Prasad says the current government thought that the people are foolish and will be misled.


NFP Supporters present at the campaign meeting in Tabia

He says the FijiFirst began to believe that what they did in terms of tricking and misleading the people by their manifesto, they would be able do the same this time around.

However, Prasad told around 50 people at the campaign meeting that he believes that their people are not foolish and will not be misled as they are much more intelligent than what this government thinks about them.

Biman Prasad says he has gone around the country and now feels that people will throw FijiFirst out of the government.

He says the people who are living in poverty and those that are getting less income are struggling to buy basic food items for their family.

Prasad has also claimed that some women who are working in the garment industry for the last 18 years are still getting paid $2.90/hour.

He says the current government is saying the national minimum  wage is $2.68/hour.

However, he says many families are struggling to buy basic food items.

Prasad adds that NFP will also add eight more items to the seven items which will mean 15 basic food items will have 0% VAT.


NFP Supporters at the campaign meeting last night in Tabia, Labasa

Meanwhile the FijiFirst Government had earlier said that through the 2016 budget address they had announced a major reform to their taxation system that created a level playing field and make taxes less burdensome.

It had reduced VAT in 2016 from 15% to 9%, and also charged VAT on the basic items that were previously zero rated.

The government had said that this means all items that people were paying VAT on will decrease by 6%.

It said that for some items, the prices reduced by more than 6% because government had also reduced the duty on those items.

The FijiFirst government had said that VAT is being charged on rice, flour, tinned fish, cooking oil, tea, powdered milk, kerosene and prescribed medicine.

It had said that even though VAT is now being charged on the eight items, the reduction in VAT from 15% to 9% was anticipated to reduce overall cost of living for all Fijians by at least 4.5%.

The FijiFirst said that the reduction in VAT and duty is in addition to other government initiatives including the free Food voucher program, subsidised electricity and water for those households that earn less than $30,000 annually, free education and free medication for Fijians who earn less than $20,000 annually.

It said that list of prescribed medicines that are available under the free medicine initiative will also be expanded from 72 to 142 items.

Pacific Specialist Healthcare
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