Politics

Help are not freebies, says Minister Usamate

Members of the Opposition have referred to what the Government does as “freebies” and this implies that people getting the assistance do not really need it, says Minister for Infrastructure, Meteorological Services, Lands and Mineral...

Ro Filipe: Government using ‘bulldozing’ tactics

Opposition MP Ro Filipe Tuisawau yesterday attacked the Government for undermining iTaukei institutions, saying the “bulldozing” of Bill 17 was a clear example. Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Ro Filipe said the Government saw cultural institutions such as the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) as “threats which undermine the State”. “The removal of the GCC is...

Qereqeretabua: TLTB Board silent on proposed amendment

National Federation Party MP Lenora Qereqeretabua told Parliament she was amazed by the silence of the board of the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) in relation to the proposed amendment to the iTaukei Land Trust Act. During debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament this week, she said she was also amazed that TLTB...

A-G: Fiji’s debt level projected to increase to $9bn

Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says Fiji’s deficit for the 2021-2022 financial year was projected at 16.2 per cent of GDP and debt expected to rise to $9 billion or 91.6 per cent of GDP. However, he said by adopting a very conservative revenue estimation strategy, actual debt could be lower than projected if borders reopened...

Saiyed-Khaiyum: Bill 17 designed to attract investment

Bill No. 17 is designed to attract investment by improving the ease of doing business, says Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. “Suffice to say Bill 17 does not take away the right of any landowner or landowning unit to authorise the giving of lease, it does not reduce the amount of lease money the...

Fiji PM’s $175k travel allocation unnecessary, says MP Tabuya

The $175,000 set aside in the 2021-2022 National Budget for the Prime Minister’s overseas travel is unnecessary because international travel is not permitted during this COVID-19 pandemic, SODELPA’s Lynda Tabuya told Parliament yesterday. She highlighted this issue when the Parliamentary Committee of Supply was debating programs under the proposed budget. “This is unnecessary because there...

MP Biman: Waste of money; $3bn lost through ‘wastage, pilferage and inflated project costs’

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad says $3billion has been lost through “wastage, pilferage, inflated projects costs and mismanagement in government spending” over the past six years. “As I have said in the previous session of Parliament, talking about Government spending, our estimate showed that under this Government in the last six years –...

MP Waqanika: Blame of COVID deaths in Fiji squarely falls on Government

The Fijian Government has diverted the blame of deaths on people refusing to be vaccinated, when the blame squarely fell on them for not taking heed of wise counsel. SODELPA MP Tanya Waqanika said this while contributing to the 2021-2022 National Budget in Parliament, which she said was completely reliant on a vaccination campaign that...

A-G: Parliament paid out $765k in political party grant

Parliament paid out $765,000 in political party grant to political parties in the last financial year, says Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. He was responding to queries from Opposition why allocations in the budget for independent bodies such as Parliament were reduced. He said the budget allocation for Parliament had decreased by $1.5...

A-G: Government not responsible for Fiji Mahogany Trust reports

Government is not responsible for Fiji Mahogany Trust reports, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told Parliament yesterday when the Parliamentary Committee of Supply was deliberating programs in the 2021-2022 National Budget. He said this while answering queries from SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka on why the trust was allocated $250,000 in the budget. Mr...

28th July

Fiji’s Education Ministry to focus on rebuilding schools

The Education Ministry will spend $20 million from its $704.6 million allocation in the 2021-2022 budget and $8m from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the reconstruction of schools. This, according to Education Minister Rosy Akbar during debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament on Monday. “Even during this pandemic, this...

Tough decisions in budget – PM Bainimarama

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the 2021-2022 budget “did not shy away from tough decisions”. During debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament on Monday, he said budgetary allocations have been reduced across all his portfolios. “The same goes across Government and these cuts to expenditure come as no surprise,” he said. “We...

$442.9m for operational needs for Fiji’s Education Ministry

Fiji’s Education Minister Rosy Akbar says of the $704.6million allocated to the education sector in the 2021-2022 budget, $442.9m was for the ministry’s operational needs, $71.4m was for operation grants to higher education including the three universities and seven TVET institutions. During debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament on Monday, she said $159.6m...

MP Ratu Naiqama asks Government to explain tax revenue projection

Opposition Leader Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has called on Government to explain how $1.6billion in tax revenue could be collected when the economy had further contracted this year, and was likely to remain subdued throughout the 2021-2022 financial year. “As per the data presented in the estimates, the revenues projected for 2021/22 is expected at 77...

MP Bulanauca quizzes decrease in allocation

Opposition parliamentarian Mitieli Bulanauca questioned Government over the reduction in the Agriculture Ministry’s allocation from $65.7 million last financial year to $62m in the 2021-2022 budget. He made the comment during debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament on Monday. Mr Bulanauca said the reduction “shows the low priority that the FijiFirst Government or...

Nath on COVID-19 outbreak response

To say this Government is doing nothing to control this COVID-19 outbreak is an offence to the thousands of people out there risking their lives, says Assistant Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Vijay Nath. Speaking in the Parliament he said it was an “offence” to the civil servants out there risking...

Amendment to Bill 17 will help generate more income, says Fijian PM

Government prefers progress and economic opportunity for landowners which is why it is focused on assisting them to use their assets to improve their lives, livelihoods and become more prosperous, says Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. “Here’s a problem the Bill fixes, even though someone may have a registered lease on iTaukei land, which means...

Gavoka: ‘Withdraw Bill 17’

“Withdraw Bill 17.” Opposition member of Parliament Viliame Gavoka says bringing the Bill at a time when COVID-19 was affecting the country was “the height of irresponsibility”. He said there were many petitions signed by the people across the country with many still making its way to the Parliament. “We are a people who believe...

‘At least enlighten the landowners’, association says on proposed Bill 17

The Vanua Levu Landowners Association says landowners deserved to know the details of a proposed change to the iTaukei Land Trust Board Act. The Bill, No 17 of 2021 now before Parliament, seeks ‘to remove the requirement of obtaining the consent of the iTaukei Land Trust Board for any mortgage, charge, pledge or caveat on...

Kumar: FTUC claims ‘total lie’

Minister for Employment, Productivity, and Industrial Relations and Youth and Sports Parveen Kumar says the claims made by the national secretary of the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) that no consultation on vaccination policy or amendment was done by the board was a “total lie”. “The national OHS advisory board, including FTUC’s five members were...

Tikoduadua: Denying people benefits for not vaccinating is inhumane

To deny people benefits funded by the taxpayers just because they have not been vaccinated is inhumane, unjust, and morally wrong, says National Federation Party president and Opposition MP Pio Tikoduadua. He said the provision puts to shame the Government’s objective of leaving nobody behind. While delivering his response on the 2021-2022 National Budget in...

Fiji facing worst crisis, says Prof Biman

Fiji is facing its worst health, social and economic crisis in Fiji since independence and Government does not want to talk about it, says National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad. “I listened to more than two hours to the budget speech and I waited to hear the honourable Minister for Economy talk about the...

Fiji’s Speaker of Parliament rules against petitions calling for withdrawal of Bill 17

Fiji’s Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today ruled against three petitions from Opposition MPs that called for the withdrawal of the controversial iTaukei Land Trust (Budget Amendment) Bill 2021 currently before Parliament. The three petitions were from SODELPA party leader Viliame Gavoka, Opposition MPs Lynda Tabuya and Jese Saukuru. Mr Gavoka’s petition stated: “We,...

MP Radrodro quizzes citizenship status of new CEO

The citizenship status of the newly-appointed Fiji Development Bank CEO, Saud Minam, was queried in Parliament yesterday. The issue was highlighted by SODELPA MP Aseri Radrodro when contributing to the debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament. He claimed the Government continued to appoint people they favoured. He said they had turned Fiji into...

SODELPA leader taken in for questioning by CID

SODELPA leader Viliame Gavoka has been taken in for questioning by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Fiji Police Force. The party stated on its official social media Twitter page that Mr Gavoka was summoned by the CID for questioning. The party understands that this was in relation to the controversial Bill 17. A...

MP: Economy Minister ‘gambling’ with management of public finances

Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum “has been gambling with the management of public finances for the past seven years and misleading the people of Fiji”. Opposition Leader Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu said this, adding that while reviewing the budget figures and trends for the past five years, he found the proposed budget “over-optimistic, very ambitious, unrealistic and...

Crisis to impact Fijian students, says MP Kepa

About 125,000 students from disadvantaged backgrounds could be facing huge challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the impact it has had on their education. This was the view expressed by Opposition parliamentarian Ro Teimumu Kepa during the debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament on Monday. She said the Education Ministry’s $60million...

Fijian Police quiz NFP leader again

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad was again taken in for questioning by police yesterday. Fiji’s Acting Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu confirmed this but did not comment any further. Prof Prasad told Parliament he was questioned by Police last Sunday night about a statement he had issued about the proposed changes to Bill...

$150m lockdown question; Government refused to lock down – MP Qereqeretabua

If Government says it had $150million balance, why did it not impose a complete lockdown? This was the question asked by National Federation Party parliamentarian Lenora Qereqeretabua during the debate on Fiji’s 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament yesterday. She was referring to Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s statement during the 2021-2022 budget address that he had...

Seruiratu: ‘Human behaviour and human rights’ biggest challenge against COVID-19 fight

Minister for Defence, National Security and Policing, Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu says Fiji’s biggest challenge in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is “human behaviour and human rights”. He made the comment yesterday in his parliamentary contribution to the 2021-2022 National Budget announcement. He said despite collective national efforts against...

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