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7.20 PM: HOPE Party believes that the government will give tax breaks and other stimuli for private investment to make the economy not only withstand the global slowdown but in fact grow in spite of it.
6.22 PM: Sayed-Khaiyum says the Government will keep policies consistent but expenditure adjustments will be undertaken to build buffers, keeping in mind the slowdown in the global economy- US and China trade tensions, uncertainty on Brexit, recent geopolitical developments, global commodity prices, and developments in Fiji’s other major trading partners, Australia and New Zealand.
6.10 PM: Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka says the cost of living is high, poverty is increasing, taxation is rising and that is one reason he believes that there is lack of investor confidence in the country. SODELPA believes that the government is overtaxing people.
5.30 PM: “We are calling it the Bainimarama Boom,” says Sayed-Khaiyum while addressing the media in a recent budget training workshop in Suva.“On average the economy has grown by 4.5 per cent since 2013, this is much stronger than our historical averages, excluding 2.6 per cent for 2016, growth is 4.9 per cent per year. Sayed-Khaiyum adds that the economy is projected to grow by 2.7 per cent this year and around 3 per cent in the medium term. “Debt to GDP ratio fell from 56.2 per cent of GDP in 2010 to 45.9 per cent at the end of July 2018. This shows decline of more than 10 per cent of GDP,” he says.
5.25 PM: USP Lecturer and Economist Dr Neelesh Goundar says that “we can’t go on spending like this because government will have to borrow every year and it will add on top of everything that is there.”
5.10 PM: Fiji Economist Dr Neelesh Goundar tells ABC Radio that for small island states like Fiji with $5 Million dollar budget deficits, such a large debt can have an impact on reducing fiscal stability especially during and after shocks like that of Tropical Cyclone Winston.
5.00 PM: Order paper for the 2019-2020 Budget Announcement at 7.30pm.