22 Oct 2005

Fiji public servants reject tax increase to fund payrise

8:22 am on 22 October 2005

Fiji's public servants have vehemently rejected a government proposal to increase taxes to pay for Cost of Living Increases awarded to them amounting to more than US$18 million.

Radio Legend reports that the prime minister has suggested a tax increase in the budget to be presented next month as well as an appropriation bill to meet back-pay for the last two years.

Laisenia Qarase also says the budget is already in deficit and can't cater for the increases.

But the chairman of the Confederation of Public Sector Unions, Rajeshwar Singh, says parliament should never pass an increase in taxes.

He says more than half of all the increases given to public servants will end up back with the government, by way of taxes.

Mr Singh says the rest of the money will generate more economic activity which will benefit everyone including the state coffers.