3 Nov 2005

Call for Fiji government to intervene over fuel prices

8:18 am on 3 November 2005

Fiji's opposition leader has called for government intervention to cushion the adverse socio-economic effects of the rise of fuel prices to all-time record levels.

Radio Fiji quotes Mahendra Chaudhry as saying the cost of fuel has gone beyond what the economy can sustain and the government must step in with relief measures.

Mr Chaudhry's call comes after fuel prices jumped to unprecedented levels yesterday and the cost of cooking gas rose by 10 per cent a day earlier.

The poor comprise half of Fiji's population and Mr Chaudhry says these are the hardest hit.

He says these price increases will create inflationary pressures that can't be sustained, adding that businesses can't afford such rises and will pass them on to consumers.

Likewise, he says, the cost of transporting sugar cane to the mills and agricultural produce to the markets will rise, as well as bus and taxi fares with flow-on effects on all products.

Bus and taxi operators have also expressed alarm at the latest increases saying they can only hope for some concessions when the government tables its 2006 national budget in parliament tomorrow.