THE work of the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) came under scrutiny in Parliament yesterday with the Opposition calling for its removal.
Opposition Deputy Whip, Mosese Bulitavu told Parliament that given the authority's consultation fees and hiring of expatriates, it was "wasting taxpayers" money and not doing a good job to fix the roads.
Questioning the efficiency of the authority, Mr Bulitavu said the former Public Works Department (PWD) did a much better job with a budget of $60million compared to the $600m that the FRA received from Government annually.
"Can the minister consider removing FRA and getting an organisation like PWD more corporatised, that would be more effective," he said.
Opposition parliamentarian, Aseri Radrodro said given the fact that the Prime Minister had raised his dissatisfaction on some of the work done by FRA, would removing the FRA chairman and its board be an option.
In response, Infrastructure Minister, Parveen Kumar said the issue was not to remove FRA, its chairman and the board.
Mr Kumar said the issue was to strengthen the FRA.
"Let's not talk about removing the FRA, let's talk about how we can strengthen, how we can work together to see work is done," he told Parliament.
Mr Kumar said FRA was only five years old and was faced with challenges like any other organisation.
He said new changes had been put in place by the FRA board and management and it would not take effect for another two to three years.
"I am aware that there are some challenges within FRA and the board will address this issue.
"The Government will continue to monitor and recommend changes and improvements where necessary."
Mr Kumar said with the departure of MWH Global last year, FRA in consultation with the management and stakeholders now had a well established system for policy plan, monitoring and reporting.
He also outlined some immediate action including the setup of divisional office, specialised machinery and intake of technical staff, had been taken to make FRA more effective.
He said the PM had also raised some concerns in some areas of the work undertaken by the FRA and that would be fixed.
National Federation Party (NFP) leader, Professor Biman Prasad also asked the minister to look at the cost and benefits of hiring overseas contractors as opposed to hiring local contractors.