22 Nov 2012

Fiji regime budget includes increased social welfare spending

7:28 pm on 22 November 2012

The interim Fiji government has presented a deficit budget that includes a big lift in spending on roads, pensions for some and food vouchers for the poor.

The prime minister and finance minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama says they are expecting income of 1 point one eight billion US dollars and plan to spend 1 point 3 billion dollars.

Don Wiseman has more:

"The planned spending includes a 32 percent lift in capital expenditure at just under 400 million US dollars with a significant portion of that going to roading. There's an allocation for the Constituent Assembly and an Elections Office. More money will go to pre-school education, tuition fee assistance, and vocational training. More than ten thousand households are promised assistance of up to 80 dollars a month including food vouchers for some. There will be a pension for people over the age of 70, if they are not already in a scheme. That is expected to apply to up to 9 thousand people. A minimum wage for public servants is promised from the beginning of next year, meaning Commodore Bainimarama says, that 1663 workers will get a raise. Householders will have their power charges cut from January the 1st 2013, while a new green tax will apply to discourage the use of imported fuels."