THE Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has challenged businesses in the Western Division to be proactive rather than reactive to ensure they are ready when the borders do open up.
As he addressed the audience at the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s “Second Business Forum- Post COVID-19”, the A-G said this is the reason the 2020-2021 National Budget is designed in a way to spur economic activity domestically.
“Don’t react when the borders open, be proactive now and preposition yourself because when the borders do open and they will open up at some point in time- it could open up in the next two weeks or the next three or six months,” he said.
The A-G explained that measures such as a reduction in Service Turnover Tax (STT), Environment and Climate Adaptation Levy (ECAL) and removal of stamp duty in over 1,600 items which means a loss of revenue for the Government but will consequently reduce costs for businesses.
“The budget is essentially incentivizing businesses, the tourism sector which contributes to 40 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the ancillary services- they have to pay insurance so we need to have a strong domestic market.”
The private sector came out in numbers seeking information on the various incentives that have been provided by the Government and were informed of all the stimulus measures that they can tap into to keep the domestic economy moving.
The A-G said there is a need to realize the ground realities and have a positive outlook rather than an unrealistic perspective.
“Whenever the vaccine is there and the approach from all the international institution is that it should be a public good and not as a commodity because if it is that, then we would be at the bottom,” he said.
Furthermore, the A-G touched upon how the situation presented a unique opportunity to relook at many other areas such as certain existing legislations that are archaic and have been counterproductive to ease of doing business.
He said these legislations were relevant to those times but the situation is very different with advancing technology and the fast-paced business culture so there will be some changes to that in the coming days.