The Association of Banks in Fiji (ABIF) has welcomed the 2023-24 Budget and has labeled it as a “tough but out of necessity” blueprint for the country.
Chairman Haroon Ali said the ABIF recognizes the balancing act required between managing the high debt levels and also focusing on growing the economy for the benefit of all Fijians.
He said some tough decisions were necessary to improve the country’s financial standing and that would hurt some people, especially those in the lower income bracket or recipients of the Government’s social welfare payments.
“ABIF takes the opportunity to thank the Minister and the Coalition Government for the open, transparent and consultative approach undertaken by the Ministry of Finance leading up to the Budget announcement.”
“This strategy had softened expectations in most sectors and also eliminated that element of surprise and shock to the many proposed changes to better manage the country’s finance.”
Ali has also commended the Minister for the various initiatives towards reducing the fiscal deficit to below 3.5 per cent of GDP from FY2024-2025 and reducing Government debt to below 80 per cent of GDP.
He further acknowledged the Government’s commitment to build a strong economy by stabilising the revenue and debt levels and putting the economy on a sustainable path.
“The emphasis on macroeconomic stability and fiscal sustainability towards rebuilding infrastructure and improving public service delivery, social welfare, education and health will assist in supporting projected economic growth within key sectors in Fiji.”
“Revenue adequacy is critical in the running of the Government and recognises Government’s effort in simplifying the tax system regime.”
“The increase in the corporate tax rate and VAT is expected to generate additional revenue, which will be used for public investment while continuing to support the underprivileged through zero-rated products and increased social welfare benefits.”
“We will work closely with the Governor and the Reserve Bank of Fiji as our regulator to enhance the economic development in Fiji underpinned by the 2023-24 Budget.”