6 Nov 2006

NGOs in Fiji slam increase in VAT

7:20 pm on 6 November 2006

Women's rights groups are critical of the Fiji government's move to increase value added tax from 12.5 percent to 15 percent.

Fiji's national council of women's Tambua Prasad, says the move will impact heavily on the poor.

She says 34 percent of Fiji's population lives below the basic needs poverty line.

"It will definitely be an additional burden to the poor and the disadvantaged and we're particularly concerned too as to the impact of the increase to women who are the majority of consumers and will greatly limit their ability to buy goods and services."

Meanwhile, Virisila Vuadromo of the Fiji womens rights movement says the government's move is unfair, especially as cutbacks are not being made in other areas.

So on one hand, they are taxing us heavily with Value Added Tax and then on the other hand the government is going to build a one million dollar mansion for the prime minister? Its really insensitive and just sending out a really bad message.

Virisila Vuadromo.

The government says it has attempted to cushion the effect of the VAT rise by retaining its zero rating on essential food items, and raising the threshold for paying income tax.