Borrowing Protected Families and Businesses- PM

27/08/2022

The Government borrowed so that families could put food on the table and businesses did not have to shut down forever.

These were the comments made by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during the debate of the 2022-2023 National Budget in Parliament recently.

PM Bainimarama said during the crisis, they had to choose the best option for Fiji­ans and businesses because the perfect op­tion did not exist.

“We had to deal with the choices that were before us, not the choices we wish we had,” he said.

“If our people had not been given access to the unemployment benefits that we rolled out in the pandemic and the social support which we never cut through the pandemic, families would have not have been able to feed their children and keep their homes.

“Businesses would have been forced to borrow much more at much higher rates to simply survive, if they had been able to borrow at all.”

Prime Minister Bainimarama said the re­covery was proof that borrowing was the right call.
“We are now surging out of this once-in-100-year crisis, our economic growth this year will break records,” he said.

“That reflects recovery from the pandem­ic-induced decline, but it is a valid indica­tor our business sector is resilient and our economic fundamentals are strong enough to create a “Bula Boom” in tourism and economic activity.

“While countries like Samoa still haven’t fully opened their borders, Fiji has been open and recovering for nearly seven months, creating jobs, paying wages, at­tracting investment - that is what decisive­ness delivers.”
Prime Minister Bainimarama assured Fi­jians that through this Budget, they once again proved the Government responds with compassion through the new $60m inflation mitigation package.

“It includes cash support to families paid out per child, one dollar per day, or seven dollars a week, or 30 dollars a month,” he said.

“It is not a fortune by any means but it is a difference-maker for many needy families. It certainly will be for a mother of four who will receive $720 in direct cash support be­tween the start of August and the end of December.

“One-off payments of $180 will also go to tertiary students, people on Government pensions and in aftercare, and social wel­fare recipients.”

The Prime Minister said the Government was providing security for those most vulnerable in the society and it was not a “freebie”.

“Mothers don’t call money they can spend buying food for their children a freebie,” he reiterated.

“No one calls free medicine they need to survive, a freebie. No one calls the free ed­ucation they can provide for their children, a freebie.

“No one calls the roads they rely on to travel to their jobs or to the market, a free­bie.

“Our people need this support and our op­ponents are too blinded by political ambi­tion to see it.”

PM Bainimarama said considering the ex­tremely volatile situation, they would re­view their response in six months’ time and provide more support if needed.
 
-ENDS-