The illegal Attorney General and Acting Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has delivered the 2011 National Budget Address.
And along with the expected reforms in sugar, consumer products and a VAT increase from 12.5 to 15 per cent, Khaiyum also ventured into the sex industry.
While he was talking about duties on imported snacks, Khaiyum - well-known for his voracious appetite for illegal decrees - said 'Sex' instead of 'Snacks.'
Go figure how you can confuse 'Snacks' and 'Sex' but the masses listening to the live broadcast were doubled over with laughter over Khaiyum's faux paus.
None of the local media have reported Khaiyum's 'sexy' lunchtime comment but Coupfourpointfive has had several texts (yes, we said Texts not Sex), about Khaiyum's gaffe.
His brother, Aiyaz's radio station, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, have of course ignored the stuff up though they have acknowledged the dodgy absence of two key people, the illegal PM Frank Bainimarama and the Governor of the Fiji Reserve Bank, Sada Reddy.
Here's their coverage of the budget a short time ago:
The budget has a total revenue of $1745.7 billion against an expenditure of $1961.7 billion, leaving a deficit of $216 million.
Capital expenditure has been set at $526 m with much of this also going towards the sugar industry.
On the much talked about $150 m bond debt that matures next year Sayed-Khaiyum announced that Singapore and Hong Kong-based brokers are acting on government’s behalf to refinance the bond.
"The US $150 m global bond raised in early 2006 is due for payment in September next year. Fund members based in Singapore and Hong Kong have been identified as government t international brokers to manage the refinancing of this global bond. Part of next year’s debt is expected to be financed through this global bond roll over. This strategy will release limited reserves in the domestic financial market for private sector investments and supplies."
On the sugar industry Sayed-Khaiyum reaffirmed government’s commitment saying 200,000 people or almost 20 per cent of Fiji citizens rely on the sector for their livelihood.
He announced strict cost cutting measures and reforms for the Fiji Sugar Corporation and says government will work with development partners for technical assistance.
The total allocation towards the sugar industry came to $123 m.
“An appropriate provision of a $110m has been allocated in the 2011 budget to support FSC - which will have an impact on the sugar industry as a whole. In addition $6m has been allocated for cane replanting, $1m for cane quality payment, $5m to South Pacific Fertilizers and $1.5m for the Committee for Better Utilization of Land, in total $123m has been allocated for the support of the sugar industry.”
On socio-economic and poverty alleviation issues – government announced a host of policies aimed at supporting the vulnerable in the community. This includes support to 10,000 new recipients of the family assistance scheme.
“In 2011we have allocated an addition of $3.6m to issue food vouchers of $30 a month to 10,000 new recipients. Within this schemes based on the means test - the elderly over 70 years of age who are currently not receiving any form of government assistance, pregnant mothers who are currently falling outside of the eligibility for receiving family assistance allowance and disadvantaged family and school children will be eligible. The Ministry of Strategic Planning will release final details of this scheme before Christmas.”
Government has also allocated $10 m housing assistance for first time home owners – a policy that was introduced last year but could not be implemented due to the effects of Cyclone Tomas and the Operation Kadivuka campaign.
A 3 per cent increase on alcohol and tobacco products has been imposed.
A notable absence was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji Sada Reddy. FBC News was informed that Mr. Reddy is on leave.
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama was on his way from Nadi to Suva when the budget address was delivered. Bainimarama has just returned from a two week trip to China, meeting industry and business leaders there.-FBC