28 April, 2017, 12:00 am
OPPOSITION Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has removed National Federation Party (NFP) leader Professor Biman Prasad as the shadow minister for economy after the party’s decision not to form a coalition with SODELPA or any other party for next year’s general election.
Ro Teimumu told The Fiji Times yesterday that this was the decision of SODELPA caucus.
However, she personally believes Prof Prasad is the best person and most qualified to fulfil the role of the shadow minister for economy and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) until his resignation.
In a letter to Prof Prasad on Wednesday, Ro Teimumu said: “As you have publicly stated that NFP will not partner or coalesce with any other party prior to the 2018 election, it is therefore imperative to SODELPA to find a parliamentary platform to make known and publicise issues that will benefit us from the 2017/2018 Budget”.
“Our members (SODELPA MPs) now believe that it is now an opportune time for a member of the Public Accounts Committee to make the appropriate response to the 2017-2018 Budget addresses,” Ro Teimumu said.
“So now he (Prof Prasad) has resigned from the PAC and Standing Orders have changed and the chair for the committee is now a government nominee.”
Ro Teimumu said she was not forced by SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka to remove Prof Prasad.
Prof Prasad confirmed receiving the letter from Ro Teimumu.
“I have been removed as shadow minister for economy. While it means I will not deliver the official reply to the 2017-18 Budget, this will not prevent the NFP from effectively dissecting the budget and advocating issues affecting all our citizens,” he said.
He thanked Ro Teimumu for having the confidence in him to perform the roles of shadow minister for economy and chairman of PAC until he resigned in May last year after changes to the Standing Orders.
“These were important Opposition parliamentary roles required to be performed effectively and efficiently,” Prof Prasad said.
“These are parliamentary roles and have nothing to do with the fact that the NFP is a party on its own and not in a political or parliamentary coalition with any party.”