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Party leader focuses on good policies

Nasik Swami
Wednesday, April 02, 2014

THE new leader of the National Federation Party, Professor Biman Prasad, says good policies are those that begin from the people, respond to their needs and are capable of being implemented by government.

Prof Prasad, in his inaugural speech as a leader during the party's AGM last week, said difficult balances were needed when making policies.

"My work as an academic has always been firmly rooted on the lives of our citizens.

"I know that bad policies are those that begin from the need of governments to remain in power, or are incapable of being implemented or derived from the arrogance of the powerful that only they know what is best for our people," he said.

"Growing up, I have watched the arrogance of governments in my rice farming Dreketi community in Vanua Levu.

"Successive government policies failed my family and its efforts to lift itself out of poverty through rice farming, not because governments were ill meaning, but because they could not get something very simple right."

Prof Prasad said Fijians knew what was best for them.

Restoring freedoms:

Prof Prasad has called on government to rescind the Political Parties Decree, Media Industry Decree, and State Proceedings Decree and ensure a level playing field which is essential for a free and fair election.

Confronting fears:

Prof Prasad said over the past seven years, Fijians had lived in fear. He said people feared being heard by someone and reported to the authorities, feared being bullied by those in power, feared losing jobs, feared being victimised and feared being witch-hunted by government.

He said workers, farmers, taxidrivers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, civil servants, academics, journalists, business people and NGOs have shied away from raising difficult issues because of the fear of being victimised.

Economic growth:

Prof Prasad said Fiji's economic performance since 2007 had been dismal. He said on average, the economy had grown by only over 1 per cent in the past eight years.

He said the persistence of political instability, poor investor confidence, lack of investment in infrastructure, land lease problems, inconsistent economic problems, restrictive decrees and the high cost of doing business meant the confidence in the economy remained low.

Reducing prices:

Prof Prasad said Fiji's poor economic performance had resulted in rising poverty, unemployment and frustrated workers.

He said the killer of all had been rising prices of food and utilities. He claimed that if NFP was voted into Parliament, it would reduce VAT from 15 per cent to 10 per cent.

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