17 Jan 2007

Fiji Finance Minister promises to keep VAT

6:35 pm on 17 January 2007

Fiji's new finance minister has promised to keep value added tax on essential goods at 12.5 per cent.

Mahendra Chaudhry says that the interim administration has no plans to increase VAT to 15 percent, proposed by the deposed Qarase government.

The Labour leader says the new budget will focus on boosting the ailing economy by reviving the export sector and lowering deficit and debt levels.

The new budget will be tabled on March 2nd to replace the one introduced in parliament by the deposed Qarase government.

Mr Chaudhry says the budget could mean some short term pain for the people.

"We may have to hold back on some projects which are not of economic value for the time being, and there may be other cuts in areas of expenditure in the public service."

He says the budget will focus more attention on the needs of the poor to lift them out of poverty.