1 Sep 2006

Fiji Labour Party condemns latest power price rises

10:03 am on 1 September 2006

The Fiji Labour Party has denounced the 30% increase in electricity prices saying it will cause tough times ahead and fuel inflation.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says as a partner in the multi-party cabinet they were not consulted by the government.

Mr Chaudhry says this kind of rash action underscores his call for inter-party talks on all matters of national importance if the multi-party arrangement is to survive.

He says the 30% increase will make the poor more vulnerable and households and businesses will not be able to absorb the extra cost without adverse consequences.

Mr Chaudhry says the government should have considered granting a fuel subsidy to the Fiji Electricity Authority.

The National Federation Party has also called on the government to either subsidise the Authority's fuel bills or remove the 12½ per cent Value Added Tax on power bills.

The opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says a series of small increases combined with a reduction in customs duties on fuel imports for electricity generation would have been a better way to handle the problem.