Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Stop fooling people; Chaudhry

Mahendra Chaudhry has lashed out at the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad, for claiming that inflation rate for the month of January was down to 3.7 per cent.

Chaudhry said his claims ring hollow to the general shopper, for whom the price of goods on the supermarket shelf, and almost everywhere else, continues to rise.

In a statement, the Fiji Labour Party Leader and former Prime Minister said there is no real correlation between the inflation figures stated by government and the increasingly high cost of living the ordinary family is struggling with.

Chaudhry said whatever the inflation rate four per cent or 13 per cent as claimed by an independent economist, the point is that the already high cost of living has soared sharply with the increase in VAT to 15 per cent and higher duties imposed on imported food products and other items in the budget.

He said that the Prof Prasad is not fooling anyone with his lower figures.

“Independent economist have told us that the government’s inflation figures are misleading because the Consumer Price Index is based on the basket of goods and services constructed in 2008. That is some 16 years ago – prices and people’s buying habits have changed considerably since then.

“To retain his credibility, Prof Prasad needs to move urgently to reset the components and weights of the CPI so that it provides a more realistic picture of what’s happening on the ground,” Chaudhry said.

The FLP said the reality is that the Government has not met its election promise to provide relief by bringing down the cost of living. On the contrary, taxation measures adopted by the Government have made matters worse for the ordinary family.

He said the high cost of living is hurting the economy because consumption is down. People are spending on essentials. Businesses are complaining that sales are down, by as much as 30 per cent in some cases.

“Trying to paint a rosy picture fools no one. There is a general downturn. This is reflected in Government revenue collection,” the former Prime Minister said.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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