30 Jun 2017

Fiji govt workers promised 14 percent wage increase

4:26 pm on 30 June 2017

The Fiji government is promising a 14 to 15 percent wage increase for government workers, an increase in benefits for the poor and elderly and extra money for the ailing sugar industry in its budget for the coming year.

Fiji money

Photo: RNZ Pacific

Also pledged are a levy on plastic bags, $US30 million for housing, a rise in the tax threshold and millions of dollars extra on health.

Fiji's Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum delivered the budget to parliament last night, saying the economy is the strongest it has ever been.

"We will see clearly as I reveal the budget priorities, Madame Speaker, that enlightened, bold and consistent management of the economy over time has also given us the ability to expand assistance for the most vulnerable, reinvigorate the civil service, spread the burden of taxation, attract needed medical personnel, improve education, adapt to climate change and play a greater role on the world stage."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also announced a casino licence for the country's national pension fund, seed money for a kidney research and treatment centre and an accident compensation commission.

The leader of the opposition National Federation Party Biman Prasad said it was a feel good budget, which was good politics rather than good policy before an election.

Listen to analysis of the budget by Professor Vijay Naidu, of the School of Government, Development and International Affairs at the University of the South Pacific.