27 Oct 2005

Fiji senator queries wage clause in income tax amendment

2:53 pm on 27 October 2005

Fiji Senator Atu Emberson-Bain says she is concerned about the new income tax amendment bill because it does not adjust a minimum wage limit to increased living costs.

The bill offers a 200 percent tax deduction on wages and salaries to new investors in Vanua Levu as part of a so-called 'Look North' policy to boost the economy on that Island.

However, the senator, who is a member of the opposition Labour Party, says the bill is problematic.

"There was a provision that was not transparent and obvious in the bill that was before us but it was in one of the many amendments to the income tax act that has been made over the years and I went in search of this and discovered to my horror that there was a minimum wage set there of 72 cents an hour."

Atu Emberson-Bain says although businesses are protected by the different minimum wages councils, it would encourage exploitation.

She says the rate would be four times below the poverty line.