Fiji Budget For 2017-18 Increases Spending By $459 Million

Net deficit projected at 4.5% of Gross Domestic Product

By Manasa Kalouniviti

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 30, 2017) – State expenditure will increase by $950 million [US$459 million] in the 2017-2018 financial year from last year to $4.35b [US$2.1 billion].

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum last night announced the budget, which is expected to have net deficit of $499m [US$241 million] or 4.5 per cent of the gross national product (GDP). The increase in the budget is to cater for the Government's decision to increase its social protection programs.

Education was the top priority of the Government receiving a massive increase of $532.2m from its 2016 budget of $432.2m to $964.4m.

Government also announced a pay increase of up to 79 per cent for civil servants and announced a number of social policies.

The budget for the Poverty Benefit Scheme (PBS) has increased with the monthly household allowance from $30 to $110 while the $50 monthly food voucher allowance will continue.

Citizens aged 65 years and above who are part of the Social Pension Scheme will also receive an increase in allowance from $50 to $100.

Pregnant women in rural areas will continue to receive assistance under the Food Voucher Program and receive $50 a month.

The Government will continue its bus fare subsidy while the funding for the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) has been increased from $42.5m to $159.1m.

Civil servants are expected to have pay rises of up to 79 per cent.

And if you are worker earning $30,000 and below, you will have a bigger take home pay with the tax threshold being increased to $30,000.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum anticipates the economy to rebound by 3.8 per cent in 2017 driven mainly by manufacturing, construction and financial and insurance activities.

Also significant was Government's allocation of $319.8m towards the 49 climate change adaptation and mitigation projects which vindicated Fiji's presidency in the upcoming COP 23.

Fiji Times Online.
Copyright © 2017 Fiji Times Online. All Rights Reserved

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Comments

I've seen the budget announcement on fijivillage.com and was very pleased with it. It's a very good budget and I believe the Honourable Minister has worked very hard on it and done a fantastic job. No Minister in the history of Fiji has ever consulted with the general public before compelling and announcing the budget, so people should be happy with the budget as they have contributed to it through the consultations. Sorry to say but people like Sitiveni Rabuka, Mahendra Chaudhry, Biman Prasad and party shouldn't say a single word because they didn't do anything for the improvement of Fiji and it's people whilst being in position to do so. The Honourable Minister for Economy has been working hard from the very first day in Office. When Rabuka and Chaudhry were in office they only thought about themselves and their families then how can they comment on the present budget or anything for that matter. I think the people of Fiji should stand up for the current Government because this Govt has done and is still doing a lot for them. Tell me which government gave you free water, medications and bus fares to name a few things. I plead to the people of Fiji to wake up and support your government before you lose eveything and suffer like before during Rabuka and Chaudhry government eras. People of Fiji don't be selfish, understand and support your present government because I think if there is free medications supplied then it's not only for the families of the Government officials but to everyone, any benefit given by the government is not only for their families and friends but for the whole of Fiji. You live there and you know your government better than anyone so support your government. Don't get disheartened by something not done or any service not received on time because Rome was built overnight so nothing happens overnight everything takes time so have patience and faith in your present government and support them wholeheartedly. Thankyou.

Well said Yasmeen Fariq! I have seen many amazing changes in Fiji over the past 11 years and i'm proud to have become a Citizen 8 years ago. Keep up the Good work Fiji First, Vinaka Vaka Levu.

Well its great to hear that. But do you know what they are doing in the background? Supressing and opressing Fijians. What do you think will happen eventually? You truly think that Fijians will sit back and let a blue booklet dictate their lives? Who wrote that constitution anyway? Our culture,race and the land God gave us is not important to you compared to economic development and this stupid budget. Who needs development when we have plants, animals and fish in the sea. Humans need to eat to survive the life span given by God, 70 years. Its as simple as that. Everything else is just a waste of time and effort.

The beneficiaries and families of the above subject really applauded the Fiji First government for a job well done by the Minister of Economy, Mr Ayiaz Khayium. Well done sir, and do not be taken away by many b....... critics raised by Mr.Sitiveni Rabuka and Mr.Mahendra Chaudary. We humbly request them to put their concerns to rest, for we have seen their true colors in uniform when they were in the political arena. It would be a big shame on me if I try to oppose something good that was supposed to have been done during my term in office, but never have thought of doing it because of selfishness. My humble plea to those critics to back off and let the good things flow freely. The author of the above comment is talking about something in the background he does not really know.We need economic developments for our beloved Fiji and its future generations,and the hard core behind that is a healthy budget like the 2018 Budget. If the above author is realistic on some wrong doings in the background, why not tell us now, or if he thinks that something will eventually happen in future, why not draw up a forecast on that so that we can all see what would happen. If we would speak about the life span given by God, we should also allow God's will for us to respect those that have been elected to lead Fiji, for they are the chosen ones. Now, we will wait and see who are the chosen ones, comes 2018 General Elections. God Bless Fiji.

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