Show compassion and remove fuel tax
Thursday 1st April 2021
Government must show compassion and fulfil its obligatory social responsibility by immediately removing the 20 cents per litre extra duty on fuel imposed from 1st April last year, said National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad.
Professor Prasad said the extra fuel tax is now having a crippling effect due to the escalating price of fuel following the latest hike from today.
“The price of motor spirit is $2.24 per litre, kerosene price has increased by 15 cents per litre, price of cooking gas has increased by $1.72 per 12 kg cylinder. This will severely hurt the pockets of ordinary and poor people”.
“For the ordinary people, kerosene price has increased by 35 cents per litre with the last two monthly increases and cooking gas has increased by $4.40 for a 12 kg cylinder. The price of motor spirit increased by 25 cents in the last two hikes”.
“On 26th March,2020, while delivering the Covid-19 Response Budget, the Minister for Economy justified the imposition of the 20 cents per litre extra duty by saying the fuel prices were at their lowest due to dramatic reductions in world fuel price”.
“He had then stated that despite the imposition of the additional tax, people would still enjoy one of the lowest prices in the world. This has evaporated into thin air”.
“We have had about four successive hikes to the price of fuel, resulting in motor spirit costing people $2.13 as well as rises to other fuel products”.
“Now that the world fuel price has risen, contributing to significant increases locally, it is only fair that the 20 cents per litre extra duty is immediately removed”.
“It is the duty of any government to pass on the benefits of any price reduction to the people as part of its social obligation. For 11 months now, this government has extracted extra revenue by imposing duty due on low fuel price”.
“Therefore, people never fully benefitted from the low fuel price”.
“The latest hike makes fuel prices exorbitant and unaffordable specially in an economically depressed climate. It has a flow-on effect and will also increase delivery of services and cost of doing business which directly or indirectly are reliant on fuel and gas”.
“We are aware of the Minister’s public statement that he made from Singapore at the beginning of March, saying the NFP should make submissions via budget consultations and not play populist politics by asking for the removal of the additional tax”.
“Seeking relief for the ordinary people of Fiji at a time when they are struggling to maintain their livelihood and put food on the table is not populist politics but our moral and ethical duty to do so”.
“Cabinet Ministers are not severely affected by the hike. Apart from their private trips, they don’t have to pay for fuel for their Government Prado’s. The taxpayers fund their fuel bills”.
“Government now must do the right thing by the people and immediately remove the 20 cents per litre extra tax, which is becoming a financial burden on ordinary people and small businesses, which are struggling to survive”.
Professor Biman Prasad