Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Prof Biman Prasad says the 2023-2024 National Budget will single out the need to focus on having a proper fiscal consolidation strategy.
This he said would allow the Government to strategize in raising revenue collection for the Government while at the same time expanding more into infrastructure areas critically needed by Government.
Speaking to FijiLive, Prof Prasad said these areas would include Fiji’s roads, the Water Authority of Fiji; Fiji’s deteriorating health care facilities and more particularly looking after our people.
He said Government will look at addressing the shortfalls in the social welfare benefits and this will all be taken into consideration.
“This will be a very balance budget, in terms of addressing some of these challenges…. And we have had some very good feedback from the budget consultations that were undertaken in the Northern division and the West.”
“It is the Government’s prerogative to always consult, to dialogue… we are opened to transparency, accountability and openness and these are all part of the processes.”
Prof Prasad indicated that the reason why the Ministry of Finance is only conducting budget consultations in the West and the North is that they were not represented at the National Economic Summit.
Prof Prasad also highlighted that they are not able to be everywhere in the North and the West to conduct the budget consultations; however, a good sample had been taken from Fijians on issues and concerns that directly affect them.
“Government’s approach this time was different. We listened to the concerns of people… there is a sense of freedom, confidence and excitement from the people in the way they asked questions… Their views were in a forthright manner and we appreciated this.”
He said they continue to trend carefully as Fiji is not out of the woods anyway.
“Fiji has a high-level of debt, obviously with will need to make repayments which is part of the resources that we need,” Prof Prasad said.