News and Comments Tuesday 15 October 2013
MINIMUM WAGE SHOULD BE POVERTY LINE: BARR. Former Wages Council chairman Fr Kevin Barr applauded the initiative to set a minimum wage rate but believes the national minimum wage rate should be pegged at $4.85 per hour, more than twice the proposed rate, and in line with the poverty line.
The new rate "is a good start because it will mean that those workers who are earning below that will actually get something". But many of the statistics used in the recent survey were outdated, and did not take into account the 2.5% increase in VAT, the 20% dollar devaluation, and the 30% increase in food prices. The Commerce Commission recommendation is based largely on the 2008-2009 Household Income and Expenditure Survey. “A lot has happened since then... Wages have not kept up with the cost of living.”
He said employers need to realise that they cannot expect people to be productive unless they are meeting their basic needs. Productivity should not only be defined and limited to human labour. “If the workers are being paid below the poverty line, productivity is meaningless. Until we get wages to a decent level, we cannot expect workers to be productive. It also depends on other factors as well like capital, the machinery that are being used, the environment of the work place and the culture of the company – all that add or subtract from productivity.” Fr Barr said he has written to Dr Reddy on his thoughts on the proposed wage rate.
ACP STANDS BY FIJI. The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, stands by Fiji as it charts its future under a new Constitution and elections next year says the ACP Sugar Ministerial Group chairman Hon Satya Faugo speaking during a traditional ceremony prior to the opening of the the 13th ACP Sugar Ministerial Meeting in Sigatoka yesterday.
“We (ACP) wish to take this opportunity to commend the bold and sustained efforts made by the Fijian Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to chart an ambitious and an all inclusive economic and political agenda for Fiji,” he said. “Let me assure you Hon. Prime Minister of the unifying support and solidarity of the ACP sugar family in Fiji’s course towards a better future.”Hon. Faugoo is the Attorney General of Mauritius. -- MOI.
Over 100 ministers and delegates from the African Caribbean and Pacific group of countries are attending this Ministerial Conference. The PM said the ACP countries needed support as they made the transition from the present preferential price arrangement to the new Economic Partnership Agreements, noting that for Fiji this support has been sorely lacking. He called for the continuation of the sugar quota system after the 2017 deadline. This FijiLive article provides more details. Click here.
FORTY-SEVEN FAMILIES HAVE HOME LOANS WRITTEN OFF. Loans totalling $395,000 were written off by the Housing Authority by these householders because they did not have the ability to repay their loans. Chairman Col. Mosese Tikoitoga said $285,000 of the $395,000 is being drawn from a government grant alongside $110,000 from Housing Authority provision. He said special conditions will apply to protect the intent of the assistance under the Social Housing Policy.