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Labour plans big

Shalveen Chand
Sunday, August 03, 2014

REVERTING the control of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces back to the minister responsible and to the Cabinet are some of the things included in the Fiji Labour Party's 2014 general election manifesto launched in Suva yesterday.

Several people filled up the Zanana Muslim League hall as FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry highlighted what they intended to do if voted into power in the election, which is 44 days away.

On the military, FLP said since Fiji was a peaceful nation and with no outside threat, the size of the military had to be rationalised. It says in the manifesto the military's budget is twice that of the Agriculture Ministry.

Getting the economy back on track, review of the 2013 Constitution, reversing rural decline, focus on the sugar industry, agriculture and social services form a key part of the FLP manifesto.

FLP said the 2013 Constitution would be reviewed, harsh decrees impinging on human rights would be revoked and the Great Council of Chiefs reinstated if it got into power.

For economic growth, FLP said democracy would increase investor confidence.

The party said it would review VAT.

FLP also wants to empower the country's labour force with emphasis on improving wages for all.

"Labour will review bank fees, reduce stamp duty, redirect the Commerce Commission's oversight role to concentrating on ensuring fair competition practices rather than stifling businesses though over-regulation," said Mr Chaudhry.

"Rural neglect in the last eight years, coupled with sharp decline in major agricultural commodities such as sugar cane and copra has resulted in a highly depressed rural sector and a high rate of rural-urban migration. Rural enhancement has been a central focus of Labour's platform for social and economic development since 1985."

Infrastructure and improvement in health care has also been highlighted by the party in its manifesto.

FLP said if voted into power, free education would continue with the introduction of a fee subsidy scheme for diploma and degree courses.

The party also wants to introduce a new scheme under the students' loan scheme where students who successfully complete their course repay only half the money taken.

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