Poor ‘struggling’ | Koya hits out at Coalition Government

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FijiFirst acting general secretary Faiyaz Koya. Picture: FILE

FijiFirst acting general secretary Faiyaz Koya has criticised the Coalition Government for policies that have seen “the rich get richer and the poor struggling to survive”.

Mr Koya said this following a recent statement from the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF), which noted that 2024 was expected to be a challenging year.

According to the RBF, the Fijian economy was projected to decelerate as the substantial growth in tourism and consumption would taper off.

In response, Mr Koya said this was an indication of the alarming trajectory for Fiji and what they warned the Coalition Government about during the budget debates last year.

The former tourism minister said while Fiji had seen a record number of tourist arrivals (929,740) and $1.25 billion in remittances, this was done on the back of the post-COVID recovery plan of FijiFirst.

“The Government move to increase VAT to 15 per cent and the recent increase in Airport Departure Tax (ADT) from $125 to $140 has seen Fiji become overpriced in the global tourism market,” he said.

“We are seeing that the people of Fiji are unable to shoulder the burdens of this government’s economic plans. Anyone can go and ask local businesses who will tell you that the increases have seen people spend less and thus, they have less to spend on investments.

“We have also seen approximately 6 per cent of our population leave our shores and this has added an additional burden on our economy as we have lost many of our skilled workers.”

Mr Koya also said the Coalition Government was neither innovative nor creative in their economic policies, and while there was talk of investments, nothing was seen on the ground.

“The fallacy that there is major debt to pay doesn’t quite match the fact that more debt has been taken on and this could obviously only be achieved due to the fact that the previous debts were well managed and thus, allowed the government to borrow more.

“The lack of serious confidence in the economy has left Fiji in a much-debilitated state and the bottom line is this Government has not created an environment that is investor-friendly and one that looks after all the people of Fiji in a genuine and compassionate manner.”

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