Posts

Showing posts from November 20, 2011

Difficult times, but a daring budget!

Image
By USP economist Dr T.K. Jayaraman in the Fiji Sun.
In the midst of global slowdown with new fears in Europe, budget exercise in an island economy supported only by tourism and agriculture unlike in the mineral resources-endowed Papua New Guinea with booming exports, is indeed difficult.

The 2012 budget is a daring one, as it confidently looks forward towards strengthening the economy.

Changes to FNPF Pension Scheme

Ioane Burese in the Fiji Times Friday, November 25, 2011
FOLLOWING todays Budget address, the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) will deliver the reform programs that will support changes to the FNPF legislation. In announcing the changes, the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said there was a serious need to review the pension scheme, as in its current form FNPF would not be able to support Fijis current and future pensioners.
FNPF CEO Mr Aisake Taito, reinforced the Prime Ministers words.
We have consulted actuarial and legal experts, as well as the public, to design a pension scheme that will empower our pensioners and provide our members with the pension they deserve in retirement, he said.

As a result, the following changes will be made:

Reserve Bank Relaxes Exchange Controls

Boosting further confidence in the economy, the Reserve Bank of Fiji today announced that it has further relaxed exchange controls.

The bank’s Governor Barry Whiteside highlighted at the post-budget press conference that the increased delegated limits means that’s there is confidence about the outlook on the level of foreign reserves, which is currently around $1.5 billion.

New Tax Policy: Official Press Release

For full Budget Address, please log  onto: http://www.fiji.gov.fj/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5231:2012-national-budget-address-by-the-prime-minister-commodore-voreqe-bainimarama&catid=50:speeches&Itemid=168

Effective January 1, 2012, the Bainimarama Government will reduce or eliminate taxes for 99.4 percent of taxpayers.
·The top income tax marginal rate will be cut from 31 percent to an absolute ceiling of 20 percent.
·RESULT: The Bainimarama Government will put $53.1 million back in the pockets of Fijians.
·Anyone earning zero to $15,600 will pay nothing in taxes.
·Income between $15,601 and $22,000 will have a tax rate of 7 percent. It was 25 percent. The fixed component is eliminated.
·RESULT: Those earning $20,000 a year now are paying about $1500 in taxes. In the new system, they will pay about $300.

Summary of 2012 Budget Revenue Policies

2012 BUDGET REVENUE POLICIES – TAX AND CUSTOMS
Summary of 2012 Budget Revenue Policies

INCOME TAX ACT (ITA)
 Corporate Tax Rate
- The corporate tax rate will be reduced from 28% to 20%.
 PAYE Tax Rates
- Income tax threshold will be increased from $15,000 to $15,600
- The marginal income tax rate for lower band will be reduced from 25% to 7%; the rate for middle
income tax band will be reduced from 31% to 18%, and the income tax marginal rate for the top band
will be reduced from 31% to 20% in line with the corporate tax rate
- A Social Responsibility Levy will be applied on full chargeable income, starting at 23% for income tax
band $270,001 to $300,000

Budget Well Received

National Budget 2011 by Fiji Village

The 2012 National Budget has seen major cuts in personal and corporate taxes, targeted tax increases for luxury items and the introduction of some new levies to provide expanded services to the people.

Many have come out and said that this is a people’s budget but at the same time it is business friendly.

It is good news for people as personal income tax that you pay has been reduced for a number of brackets in the 2012 National Budget.

This means that the take home pay will increase for a number of people from January 01st next year as you will pay a lower level of PAYE or income tax.

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has announced that people earning $15,600 or less in a year will no longer pay PAYE.

The income tax threshold is currently $15,000.

The People's Charter Stands Tall

Image
A little while back Radio Fiji published a story that "civil servants who conducted consultations on the People's Charter told the people (of Wainiika village, Cakaudrove) government would build their village hall if they show their support for the Charter." The anti-government blog  Fiji Today hailed the announcement as something that had "sneak(ed) past the censor." Maybe. Perhaps there was no censor. Perhaps the Bainimarama government does not condone such behaviour.

On the basis of this story the blog then accused the government of "using corrupt practises to get a majority vote for the People’s Charter." The Permanent Secretary for Provincial Development Col. Inia Seruiratu blamed the civil servants, not the government, and deplored their action saying it was corrupt.

More recently, Coup4.5, the blog that we toss coins over in the traditional ANZAC game of Two up (heads it may be true; tails it's probably wrong) offered its opinion that the C…

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Image
WEEKEND READINGS. Now posted from Friday 3.00pm, and ongoing.
Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Fiji. I thank Allen for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

Electricity Bill
At the moment one of the things hot on people’s lips is the electricity bill. For those of us who were around when the Monasavu dam was being built we looked forward to the fulfillment of the promise that the hydro system would save us a lot of money. We waited and we waited and we waited some more.

Then those in authority said, “Sorry folks the issue is beyond our control, world fuel prices are just too high you will have to foot the bill, and pay another security deposit because just too many customers are running away.” Then we complained and when fuel prices went down the cost of electricity remained the same.

The…

News and Comments Friday 25 November 2011

Image
25.11.11 It's been another surprising week in Fiji.  The country has signed a police agreement with Indonesia; a new regional Polynesian grouping has invited Fiji to join; maverick NZ politician, ACT's Don Brash, has welcomed Fiji's race colour-blind policies and thinks NZ should re-engage with the country; Fiji has established diplomatic relations with Bhutan, and my attempt to solicit readers' opinions on the Government and its opponents has been a dismal failure.

A few days earlier American investor Ken Honig left the country, accusing Biosecurity of harassment and accepting bribes when it seems probable he really had illegally imported the American iguana that is costing Fiji big dollars to eradicate.

The Australian High Commission also sprung a surprise saying that poverty had decreased in Fiji between 2003 and 2009 (from 40% to 35%), but rural poverty was unchanged at 44% with the worst poverty in the Northern and then Western Divisions.

Last week we reported t…

What Do You Think?

Image
The blog intends to run opinion polls on what readers think the Bainimarama Government is doing:
1. Right
2. Wrong
3. What it most urgently needs to do now

And other poll (poll 4) on what those who oppose the Bainimarama Government, and wish to see what they call a "return to democracy,"  should state as their policy.

The polls will propose up to five ideas for each question. I'd welcome your thoughts  on what those ideas should be. You don't need to spell out the questions. Just use the numbers, e.g. 1. Look North policy,  etc; 2. Lack of public participation, etc.; 3. Lift PER; 4. Reduce political influence of chief, etc.  

I will list or summarise all of your ideas and select the most popular to include in the polls. Please respond promptly so that we can start the poll this week.

Ro Teimumu Beaten, Not Beaten: Coup4.5 Again Unscrambles its Eggs

From Coup 4.5, Sunday,November 20, 2011, 11am.
Insiders: Rewa chief arrested and beaten
The chief of Rewa chief, Ro Teimumu Kepa, has been taken into the QEB army camp this morning.
She was arrested at her home.
Initial reports indicate she has been beaten.
The information about the Gone Marama Bale has come from intel sources.
This morning's arrest follows an address from Ro Teimumu Kepa about the province's continued anti-stance against the regime's Peoples Charter.

From Coup 4.5, Sunday, November 20, 2011, 2:40pm.

Ro Teimumu Kepa safe at home
Have just received confirmation from other sources including her family just a short time ago that the story of Ro Teimumu Kepa being arrested and beaten is not true.
The information had come from a source from within Queen Elizabeth Barracks who has in the past been reliable and it was confirmed twice by him (my italics).
There is genuine fear though, that the outspokenness and obvious wide support for the Rewa chief puts her a…

A Letter to Sugasini Kandiah from Guy Threllfell

POSTSCPIPT. More thoughts from Guy, too long to publish as a comment, are  added at the end of this article.  Croz 21/11/11 2pm.
This is a follow up by "Guy Threllfell" on a letter I wrote to Suga, a student studying in America who had enquired about Fiji. Click here for the earlier letter,   Guy expresses a generally contrary opinion. I agree with most of his facts but do not accept many of this interpretations. We beg to differ while sharing similar concerns. -- Croz