15 Feb 2007

Niue businesses seek talks to avert public sector cuts

11:13 am on 15 February 2007

Private business operators in Niue are calling on the government to meet with them to discuss alternatives to cutting the incomes of public servants as it strives to reduce its spending.

The government is facing a potentially large budget blowout and has proposed cutting public sector working hours by 20 percent.

But the chamber of commerce, which met yesterday, is opposed to the cuts because it would reduce the spending power of a large segment of the population.

One of the island's perennial problems has been poor tax collection and a chamber spokesman, Mark Cross says businesses have to ensure their tax is paid.

"And for the government just to re-evaluate what different ways of waiving on their spending basically, and try and avoid reducing the income of people, or at least give them the opportunity to volunteer to take a cut in wages or time spent at work."