Fiji Government budget 2017/2018
In June 2017, the Government’s budget was at $4.3 billion as stated by Minister for Economy and Attorney- General Aiyaz Sayed – Khaiyum. This means the country has to borrow funds totaling $499 million as deficit cover. Adding to repayment debts by the government at $217 million, the deficit in 2017/2018 stands at $716.8. $532 million bonds that are locally raised and overseas loans of $184m will, however, be used to offset the deficit.
Government operations will take on 58 percent summing up to $4.3 billion. This will be a cost higher due to the already planned civil servants pay rise. Infrastructural development projects will also take up a huge percent of the budget, approximated at around 40 percent. Roads, equipment purchases, government offices construction and upgrading buildings are some of these projects. Revenue by the government will also be raised through taxation, both direct and indirect. Fiji Revenue and Customs Service are expected to raise bulk funds estimated at $3 billion from taxes.
State budget 2017/2018 contains several key issues to note. People earning less than $30,000 are not to pay tax to the state. $270,000 and above earners are expected to continue paying direct tax as well 10 percent levies to the climate and environment change adaptation. Indirect taxes are expected to rise to $2.3 billion. Such revenues include water resource tax, service turn over, stamp duty, departure and value-added taxes. Direct taxes are estimated at $790 million.
FRCS has been charged with student loan debt collection responsibilities for those that received funds from TELS, Tertiary Education Loans Scheme. Employers will also be expected to pay on their employees’ behalf in cases of failure to cooperate in taxation.
Funds amounting to $38.1 million have been allocated to the Poverty Benefit Scheme (PBS). In this scheme, $35-$127 monthly allowances will be paid to every household. Food vouchers worth $50 will also be paid monthly, an increase from $30. These changes have been established despite the expected increase to 2076 from 1548 in pregnant mothers’ beneficiaries in rural areas. Such kind of an increase will cost the state $1.2 million though it has shown preparedness by budgeting for $1.7 million.
With an increased intake of child recipients in child protection allowance fund, the government will pay $29-$69 monthly allowances per child. People living with disabilities program has been budgeted at $8m. This will go into Fiji National Council of Disabled Persons (FNCDP) who will be granted $1.2 m. Disabled persons organizations are also expected to receive $1.1 m, granted by Ministry of Women, Social Welfare, and Poverty Alleviation. $300,000 will go into elderly state homes renovation while $50,000 will be used to procure equipment for special care in the facilities.
The commitment of government towards women action plan 2010-2019 has facilitated a $1.4m budget for the association. Grant worth $200,000 has also been allocated to women groups to facilitate workshops and skills training. Citizens above 65 years will also receive $100 per month in the social pension scheme.