The National Federation Party has announced a number of items that will have zero VAT if the party forms government and has also stated that they will reduce what they term as reckless spending in a number of areas.
While launching NFP's manifesto in front of more than 800 people at Vunimono Community Hall in Nausori last night, Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad revealed that rice, flour, tinned fish, powdered and liquid milk, cooking oil, tea, butter, noodles, potatoes, onions, garlic, canned tuna, locally produced eggs, bread and locally produced frozen chicken will attract zero VAT if they form government.
Prasad has also revealed that in addition to this, NFP will also make prescription medicine, kerosene, women's sanitary products, baby milk formula, diapers, toilet paper, soap and imported fruit VAT free.
He told the people that they will also reduce duty on some imported items like lamb products, ghee, school shoes and school bags. The amount of duty reduction has not been highlighted.Prasad has also announced that NFP will also reduce excise duty by 20% on locally produced beer and spirits.
While speaking on NFP's $5 per hour minimum wage rate, Prasad stated they will provide tax incentives and other support to employers in low wage sectors, formulate special measures for domestic workers who support working families and implement special measures to ensure that young people who want work experience will not receive lower than the $5 living wage for a limited period of time.
The NFP has also promised to increase social welfare allowances. Those between the ages of 60 to 65 years will receive $100 per month, those between the ages of 65 to 70 years will receive $200 per month while people over the age of 70 will receive $300 per month.
Prasad says they will implement a minimum guaranteed price of $100 per tonne cane price effective from the current season and build a new sugar mill in Rakiraki.
Biman Prasad says all first year course fees for any degree program at the three universities from 2019 will be paid by the government.
He says they will continue with the existing National Toppers Scholarship and TELS scheme but also introduce a Merit Scholarship to cater for students from low income families that have not received an offer letter for Toppers Scholarship.
Prasad adds that all student debt under TELS for those with a combined family income of less than $30,000 will be converted to grant.
The NFP has also promised to create a Family Health Care Scheme for families with incomes under $30,000 where all family members will be able to visit a private doctor four times a year free on an age appropriate schedule.
Those who are diagnosed with sicknesses, children and the elderly may visit the doctor more than four times a year.
Prasad says they will also increase the threshold of income to $30,000 from the current $20,000 to ensure more people benefit from the Free Medicine Scheme.He says those that will qualify for the Scheme will be able to receive any medication prescribed by the doctor.
The NFP government within the 100 days of coming into government will convene a national forum for traditional high chiefs, heads of Yavusa, and leaders in other spheres of I taukei life for them to determine themselves the future of the iTaukei administration.
They will also impose relevant tax on all registered land leases and freehold land not developed for a year from the date of imposing of this policy.
The Party says this is to stimulate economic activities.Biman Prasad has also confirmed that the 20 cents plastic levy will be removed and replaced by a buy back scheme which will allow people to sell plastic bags and other plastic products to government or private sector operators for recycling with the aim of banning the use of plastic bags.
He says the NFP government will remove daylight saving as according to him when urban people change the time, this steals daylight from rural people at the beginning of the day when they have to get cane to the mill or vegetables to the market.
Biman Prasad has also announced that they will hold every second Cabinet meeting out of Suva so that the Ministers can meet and hear from the people and be reminded that their policies are from them.
The NFP Leader says they believe they will save a lot of money if they reduce reckless spending and that is how they will get money to fund their initiatives. He says they will also abolish ministerial motorcades as Ministers do not need police escorts, sirens or flashing lights and they will not claim priority on the roads and will follow the rules like everyone else.
Biman Prasad has also stated that to save money, they will reduce budget for government media advertising, unnecessary public broadcasting and cancel all foreign consultancy contracts.
He adds that they will reduce the number of Fiji diplomatic missions overseas and only maintain those that provide returns in trade, marketing and tourism.
Prasad further says that they will cut wasteful operational expenditure in all government departments.
The NFP manifesto says huge amounts of money are wasted on transport, travel to unnecessary meetings, overseas travel, paper files and catering. They say that they will also critically review the Fiji Roads Authority budget and the efficiency of the FRA, which spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year.ADVERTISEMENT Listen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.