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Economy in a sluggish position: Sayed-Khaiyum

Former Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has taken a swipe at the People’s Coalition Government for its ridiculous policies and labels them as a Government that is stuck in the past.

Speaking to the media, Sayed-Khaiyum claimed that Fiji’s economy is in a sluggish position and that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, has no clue running a modern day economy.

Sayed-Khaiyum said Professor Biman Prasad was handed a running economy in a platter – one of the five fastest growing economies, post COVID-19.

He said yet decisions were made, contradictory to running an economy smoothly.

“While ordinary Fijians and businesses have been forced to endure the increase in VAT, certain bottled water companies like Fiji Water have been given tax breaks.”

“Where is the logic in that? Why not allow these Fijian companies a five to seven year tax breaks, so that they thrive and dominate certain markets.”

Sayed-Khaiyum said this big bottled-water companies can afford to pay taxes and have been doing so the last couple of years.

Also, the former FijiFirst Party General-Secretary criticised the Prime Minister’s New Year’s message, where he said the Prime Minister claimed the Government paid off $1 billion of its debt.

Sayed-Khaiyum said this was not true – $500 million was used to make principal repayments of its debt and the other $500 million was refinancing.

“Since when is refinancing of public debt become paying off of debt. Refinancing of debt is when you borrow from a different lender to pay off existing debt, which is refinancing.”

Sayed-Khaiyum also highlighted that the Prime Minister had to retract a statement by the Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection Lynda Tabuya, that those receiving social welfare pension would be phased out.

He claimed that the Prime Minister issued a statement two days later, saying that this decision was not endorsed by Cabinet and would not go ahead.

“These types of decisions cannot be associated with the FijiFirst government if it were still a Government. Let’s focus on the now, but you see, this is a Government that is caught in the past.”

“They would not continue the projects placed already by the FijiFirst Government because it was thought out by us,” he said.

However, the Deputy Prime Minister Prof Biman Prasad said Sayed-Khaiyum is suffering from withdrawal symptoms, largely because he was drunk with power for so many years.

Prasad claimed Sayed-Khaiyum is lying.

He said Sayed-Khaiyum’s comment on the economy is unfounded.

“The income that has been earned from tax, largely from VAT, has been used to support our people in need and that has been a very clear policy,” Prof Prasad said.

FijiLive has reached out to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection for comments.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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