19 Aug 2003

Fiji MP proposes new Taukei tax to fund indigenous development

4:20 am on 19 August 2003

A Fiji government MP from the pro coup Conservative Alliance party has called on the government to impose a new form of tax to fund improvements in the lives of indigenous Fijians.

Fiji TV reports Tailevu MP Samisoni Tikonisau as the source of the proposal.

The Taukei tax would acknowledge indigenous resource owners' sovereignty and standing, and be above current levels of returns from land rents and royalties.

He says these sources of income haven't been effective enough for the development of indigenous Fijians.

Mr Tikonisau says the current funding provided given to the ministry for regional development in the national budget is not enough for the 14 indigenous provinces.

He says the proposed landowners tax would acknowledge that indigenous Fijians have been exemplary custodians of all communities in Fiji and go towards village housing, roads, water supply, health, education and agriculture.

The minister of finance, Ratu Jone Kubuabola told parliament the government would consider the tax, but it would have to be easy to collect.