‘Justify money spent’

Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Picture: FT FILE

BOARD members of independent institutions like the Water Authority of Fiji, Fiji Roads Authority and the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji have been told to ensure that every taxpayer’s money they spent was justified.

In his 2018/2019 National Budget address last night, Attorney-General and Economy Minister said Government had brought in better governance and a greater level of transparency to independent institutions.

He said board members of these independent bodies also needed to ensure that the money they used needed to make an impact.

“If there is any abuse, those responsible will be taken to task,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He reiterated that Government placed a zero tolerance on corruption.

“Unfortunately, we have discovered that a number of local contractors have not been able to get rid of this old culture of abuse and we won’t work with anyone who has a poor record of integrity and accountability.

“We are coming down hard on contractors who don’t pay their workers with the companies that subcontract them.

“If it’s found you are not paying the people who are hired to work, if it’s found that your actions are non-compliant, you will be blacklisted by Government because Fijian taxpayers deserve better,” said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added that the Economy Ministry would be conducting regular checks on the budget spending for the various ministries.

“And if there would be slow implementation against the ministry’s key performance indicators (KPIs), the Economy Ministry would take funds away from slow moving projects and reallocate it to ministries who were making a more efficient use of their budget,” he said.

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