What Bainimarama didn’t say

Raica lewa ragone. Folks we are nearing the 900,000 hit mark. Keep up the blogging and don’t get sidetracked by smooth bloggers trying to divert us our objective, which is to remove this illegal regime and return democracy and an elected government to Fiji.

Sophie Foster
Saturday, November 22, 2008

WHEN interim Finance Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama announced Budget 2009 yesterday, he failed to mention that more than 1000 different items would increase in price immediately.

In fact, the only references made to this was: “Restructure of tariff band: Increase duty rates of all goods currently attracting 27 per cent to 32 per cent.”

When officials were asked about the items during Mr Bainimarama’s hour-long Budget address, they said these were items that were considered luxury or sin goods or they would be priced higher because they competed with local products. A closer look at the customs list shows more than 1000 items ranging from carrots to powdered cream to chewing gum and toilet paper.

One of those who responded immediately to the tariff increases was former interim finance minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

Of greatest concern was that the measure was applied across the board to items on that band, raising duty to 32 per cent.

He warned that the measure could have a serious inflationary effect.

Fiji saw some of its highest inflation levels in its 20-year history in the last quarter this year, with predictions now showing that it could sit at 7.5 per cent at year-end.Commodore Bainimarama announced a $1.7billion Budget for 2009 at the Tradewinds Convention Centre yesterday.

He told about 300 people gathered to witness his speech that there would be about 23 per cent more spending on infrastructure this time around, with 28 per cent more funds focused on getting economic issues sorted out.

One of the main issues raised in the lead-up to the Budget announcement was the need for the interim regime to “pull a rabbit out of the hat” in order to inspire the private sector to re-invest in the country.

Commodore Bainimarama’s response was to issue a raft of tax-free regions and industry measures designed to get businesses to go where development was lagging at the moment. One of those quick to point out that this would not work was businessman Hari Punja.

In fact, he said the tax-free zone initiative for Vanua Levu and maritime regions would not have much influence for well established businesses in the capital.

“Those tax holidays are applicable in Vanua Levu and other regions,” said Mr Punja.

“However, those people who have factories in Suva will not move to Labasa.

“It will only apply to those people who are establishing a new factory but they will evaluate first whether it’s worth it or not,” he said.

Mr Punja said the atmosphere to invest was a lot better now than in past years but could not see businesses going too far from centre.

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10 Responses to “What Bainimarama didn’t say”

  1. orion Says:

    Tax free islands, & regions are like those SE Asian development models (john Sami & Co). Useless models unless investors & their workers and business spend most of their time purchasing local supplies and looping huge amnts of money back into the local economy in various ways. Looks like they are into something we do not yet know . perhaps iIG & Co are hiding their cards close to their chests. Could it be tourism , resource based, or even oil investors. Ready made TFZ for Malaysian, Muslim, or chinese investors then & with them as local shareholders???

  2. Navosavakadua Says:

    What’s happened to our business community?

    Can somebody explain to me why the business community in Fiji don’t come to their senses and tell Frank to pack his bags and go.

    When it comes to investor confidence, tax free zones are no substitute for democracy and the rule of law. In absence of the confidence that comes from a government operating within the law, incentives like those announced in the budget are no more than magnets to attract thieves.

    And what better target for the thieves than the mahogany resources of Fiji. Frank says they will be licensing “approved harvesters”. For this read “thieves who are willing to deal with the Illegal regime”.

    While Himmat Lodhia and Hari Punja and co are smiling and saying all the right things to Frank, there can be no doubt that they are looking for ways to get their money out of Fiji.

  3. Corruption Fighter Says:

    Take no comfort from this budget. The ship of state is still at sea and taking water. But worse than that, on this ship of fools we have the crew running from one side of the boat to other. There is no even keel under this maniac captain.

    Last year. spending was slashed recklessly, leading to the worst recession in our history – 6.6 percent of our economy disappeared in 12 months. This year the name of the game is reckless spending. All over to the port side last year, so let’s all run to starboard now.

    I haven’t seen all the figures, so I don’t know how they fudged things, but I expect that there are assumptions about loans from Chinese contractors built in there somewhere. Loans that will have to be paid in Yuan, which seem certain to rise in value over the next decade.

    And there are the “public/private partnerships”. What can mean with this gang of thieves other than sales of government assets to supporters at fire sale prices?

    Frank’s speech talks about “competitive sources of loan funding”, which sounds like bullshit speak for so-called ‘soft loans’ from China. Chaudhry at least had the good sense to realize that the Chinese soft loans would turn very hard if the Yuan went up in value.

    Then add to that the prospect that our dollar is going to go down with the ship of fools and you have a recipe for disaster. Unless we can find genuine foreign investors to bring in their own funds or by some miracle we can export a lot more than we have been exporting, our dollar is steaming south at a great rate of knots.

    The only dim hope amidst all this gloom is the certainty that the ruin this incompetent bunch of fools is visiting on our economy will eventually spell their end. But how long do we have to wait and how many people will suffer in the mean time. That’s a very depressing thought.

  4. Mark Manning Says:

    s.v.
    you’ve repeated the comment here !

  5. solivakasama Says:

    Vinaka MM and point taken.

    We have amended accordingly.

    Cheers mate and have a cold one on us!

  6. FijiGirl Says:

    “By their fruits you shall know them”. Well, this budget is DEFINITELY fruity, packed with the kind of characteristics that help us to identify Vore/Chodo’s regime as
    a) completely ignorant about sound economic policy,
    b) no idea of what it takes to encourage business growth,
    c) thinly disguised free-for-all banquet for China and India to come and rape our land of our natural resources
    d) no investment in the people, the country or the economy, only in the military leaders (because you can bet your left butt-cheek none of that money will make its way down to the common soldiery except through bribes)
    e) Chodo pretending he’s not running the show from the sidelines whereas in fact he is still in thick with Vore
    f) Vore will change some things, based on Chodo’s public comments, and try to use that as an example to say ‘he listens to the people’ – but he’s just ‘listening’ to his own Master

    This budget proves, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Vore and his chodo-horts are completely unworthy to run a Church festival, let alone a country. He thinks he’s taken the best economic policies of past governments. But actually it just show’s how uneducated he is – he’s read the Review, but not the book.

    Free and fair elections, people. That’s the only thing that will get us out of this nightmare. Please keep emailing and writing to the embassies in Suva, the Aid agencies. You might even write to the Indian and Chinese embassies in Suva to voice your protest (but be careful about revealing your identity because they probably will retaliate).

    Free and fair elections. It’s what Vore fears, Bring ’em on.
    Tabu soro
    God bless Fiji

  7. Mark Manning Says:

    are you at the footy tonight in brisbane ?

  8. Snowball Says:

    Words, words, words and doctored figures! No one believes them until we see the fruits of their actions.

    When we see the same potholes getting bigger like mooncraters, food and household goods price beyond the reach of average citizens, fea and water place more burden on the poor consumers, road users forced to pay levies for unusable roads, health centres and hospitals get sicker by the day, high school dropout rates due to increasing costs, and the feeling of despondency and hopelessness everywhere, then they will realize why free and fair elections are the only way to go so we can get a government that responds to the needs of the people.

  9. Belijo Says:

    Thanks Sophie but unfortunately the “pen ” is mightier than the “sword” and the sword unfortunately cannoit see the bigger picture. The pen can.

  10. Cava Says:

    Yes, they are definitely stealing the SDL ideas,just goes to show that Chodo influence with Bai has somewhat been diffused by been unceremoniously dumped from the IG. It appears that Bai is trying his best to rectify things with the Chiefs and the I Taukei in General? Let me just say this to Bai, faka U and middle finger to your backside. You will be made an example and you will face the noose by the neck -till you’re DEAD,DEAD,DEAD,.

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