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'Real ideas'

Nasik Swami
Sunday, April 02, 2017

POLITICAL parties need to come up with critical policies in their manifestos on how to end Fiji's infrastructure woes.

That's the view of University of the South Pacific's (USP) economist, Neelesh Gounder as the February Tebbutt Times Poll revealed infrastructure as one of the top five election issues affecting the nation.

In an interview, Mr Gounder said political leaders needed to come up with real ideas and long term infrastructure development plans to address the country's infrastructure needs that affected a lot of taxpayers everyday.

He said this strategy, if thought out well by political leaders, could get them a lot of support.

"Infrastructure allows households to enjoy a better quality of life. Thus poor quality of infrastructure will be picked by households as a factor impacting them," Mr Gounder said.

He said households in rural areas, in particular, were generally more concerned with infrastructure such as the quality of roads.

"In urban areas, infrastructure issues highlighted would relate to traffic congestion and the standard of roads in suburbs.

"At the national level, infrastructure is important in improving living standards and productivity.

"Infrastructure is a more visible output. If households see a mismatch between infrastructure spending and output, it is expected to be highlighted. This seems to be the case in Fiji."

He said despite the State's immense spending on roads annually, the quality of roads in suburbs did not seem to improve.

"At the same, infrastructure development has not kept pace with the rise in the number of vehicles."

According to the February poll conducted by internationally-accredited market researcher, Tebbutt Research, infrastructure was one of the top five election issues among cost of living, employment, wages and governance affecting the electorates.

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