‘Cut costs, save $1.5b’

Unity Fiji Party leader Savenaca Narube. Picture: FT FILE

Unity Fiji Party leader Savenaca Narube yesterday announced an ‘Alternative Budget’ where he outlined cost-cutting measures that could save the country about $1.5 billion and allow Government to plough back $1 billion to priority areas.

The savings would allow for an additional $100 million to health, $30 million to education, $350 million to infrastructure, $20 million to law and order and $10 million to welfare support.

The balance of $500 million in savings was to reduce the deficit “so we keep our debt low”.

The party’s savings measures include:

q an additional 10 per cent pay cut to ministers and parliamentarians’ salaries and allowances, 20 per cent pay cut for top civil servants and a salary reduction of 10 per cent for those earning more than $30,000;

q Government grants to State Owned Enterprises be halved from the present $1.6 billion;

q Half the $200 million allocated as Miscellaneous because “expenditure has been growing and it just reflects poor budgeting”;

q Half the allocation that falls under special expenditures because spending has more than doubled in the past 10 years to $119 million of which the largest allocation in 2020 is for the Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Health;

q Reduce by half the $32 million a year spent on leased vehicles;

q The $2 million allocation in the 2019 budget for the services of the international public relations company QORVIS is a political luxury Fiji cannot afford;

q Localise positions in civil service and SOEs and save $300 million;

q The savings from the application of this concept of zero based budgeting is conservatively estimated at $500 million without any impact on service delivery;

q Party will reduce the cost of debt by $80 million per year.

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