Opposition Leader Inia Seruiratu says the most marginalised in our society need to be looked after.
Seruiratu, during a press conference at the FijiFirst office in Suva today claimed there have been some inconsistencies in the statements made by the chairman of the Fiscal Review Committee, the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.
“But the bottom line is we need to look after the most marginalised in our society, the poorest, those who suffer the most.”
“We removed the VAT on most items, we introduced a range of assistance, including free tuition, free school bus fares, water subsidy, power subsidy, social pensions, free medicine, we provided free GP services, a whole host of options of wages were given to offset the impact of rising prices and difficulties of living. All this was done to look after our most marginalised.”
Seruiratu said as we look to grow the economy, the Government must not exert our most needy to fend for themselves but we need to look after Fiji and look after all Fijians.
“The executive director of Fiji Council of Social Services, who is a member of the Fiscal Review Committee said that if increasing VAT makes the social protection system more effective, then she is bold for it. And hope that people are not being fooled or hovering. Again, I insist on the Government to leave no one behind. Do not throw it away.”
“ I wish to again emphasise the fact that our economic and financial situation is still not as good as it needs to be. But there are a number of significant positive attributes that we can deal with. And it is not as doom and gloom as the Minister of Finance is always harping on about.”
“According to a report, the IMF has downgraded its global growth forecast by 0.1% to 2.8% in 2023, and bricks in 2024.”
“Our recovery has been driven by tourism. So is the bounce back of our traditional source markets such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States slowdown, which will also affect us.”
“Amongst the positives in the IMF report, consumption is upbeat, inward remittances and employment is to be on the rise, investment continues to pick up with an increase in investment-related loans, more job advertisements, financial conditions are supportive of an economic recovery, estimates of how soon we can get back to pre-COVID levels differ.”
“However, there are positive facets of our economic and financial situation that we can work on to make that recovery happen sooner rather than later.”