The Council sees the COVID-19 budget as a sigh of relief for affected Fijians as it provides various assistance to target groups.
For many Fijians who are financially affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, the six-month moratorium on loan and hire purchase repayments could not have come at a better time.
Additionally, access to FNPF funds and top up by Government should the affected not have sufficient funds, is a timely financial boost to help them get through each day and make ends meet.
Energy Fiji Limited’s commitment to match the State’s 50 per
cent subsidy on the first 100 units of electricity used for families earning
less than $30,000 annually further reduces the financial burden placed on these
families. On the same note, Water Authority of Fiji’s decision to suspend
disconnections until December 31st ensures that families suffering
during this challenging time can have access to clean water.
It is also worth noting the Government’s intention to
increase the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as hand
sanitizers and antibacterial hand wash, gloves, masks by decreasing fiscal duty
from 32% to 0%. This is expected to make these items cheaper and more
accessible to consumers.
Consumer Council encourage consumers who may be facing hardships to contact their credit providers at the earliest to help ease costs.
The Council is also calling on businesses to ensure that reduction in duty is translated into retail prices as PPEs are the essentials that one needs to protect him/herself from this deadly virus.