ECAL to help relocate vulnerable villages

Opposition MP Adi Litia Qionibaravi and the Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum after the budget was passed yesterday. Picture: SUPPLIED/FIJIAN PARLIAMENT

The Environment and Climate Adaptation Levy (ECAL) has not been removed because Government needs to relocate more than 40 villages that are vulnerable to rising sea levels brought about by climate change.

This was the word from Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during debate on the 2020-2021 Appropriation Bill in Parliament on Wednesday.

He said Government had put in place measures to address issues faced by Fijians who had lost work and income because of COVID-19 and it was also pre-positioning the country for when borders reopened.

“We have also tried to engender within the economy a taxation regime that has reduced significantly many of the taxes,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“So we looked at, for example ECAL, nobody looked at the rationale for that.

“We’ve reduced it from 10 per cent to 5 per cent.

“We still need ECAL, we have over 40 villages we need to relocate to higher ground, we need the funding for that.

“We need renewable energy, we need roads that need to be addressed because they have been washed away by encroaching waters, inundation of waters because of rising sea levels.”

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