Minister for Finance Prof Biman Prasad says that in his upcoming budget announcement, Government is expected to reveal its plan to remove 20 cents excise duty on fuel.
In the March Parliament Sitting, the Minister for Finance was asked to inform Parliament if the 20 cents per litre fuel duty will be removed.
Prof Prasad said diesel fuel used to attract 20 cents per litre duty while motor spirit was 46 cents tax per litre- in the COVID-19 Response Budget in March 2021, the FijiFirst Government introduced an additional excise duty of 20 cents per litre on fuel.
He said this meant that the duty on diesel fuel became 40 cents a litre and the duty on motor spirit became 66 cents per litre.
“The justification during COVID-19 from the Government was that it will help then induce more revenue or reduce revenue loss because the consumers are not going to be paying any extra price than what they were paying before. That was the logic.”
“So, if global fuel prices went down, the Government raised the tax to 20 cents per litre, saying the original price would remain the same because the global price has gone down.
He indicated that the 20 cents excise duty on fuel was there for two years.
He said Opposition then had opposed it, because if the global fuel prices are going down and the consumers and the people in the country were suffering, the cost of living was going up, you let that reduction in price be passed down to the consumers and the businesses.
“That would have been the right logic, the right thing to do because, yes, we were in a difficult economic situation, Fiji was getting budget support, Government was borrowing, but we were also struggling to help Fijians. Instead of helping Fijians, in the last two years that $112 million that should have gone into the pockets of the consumers, it went to Government,” Prof Prasad added.