Minister clears the air

Opposition MP Professor Biman Prasad speaking with the Minister for Minister for Local Government, Housing & Environment, Infrastructure & Transport Parveen Kumar outside Parliament yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

MINISTER for Local Government Parveen Kumar said in Parliament yesterday that administrators and CEOs of municipal councils sometimes referred to his ministry on issues. Mr Kumar said this after being queried on the subject by Opposition MP Prem Singh.

Mr Singh had questioned the minister on whether administrators and CEOs of municipalities referred to the ministry for decision making on issues affecting ratepayers and their respective workforce.

“Madam Speaker, in some cases, yes they do,” said Mr Kumar.

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad asked the minister why the ministry had to vet all the decisions of the municipal administrators and CEOs.

Prof Prasad said a lot of workers were denied their rights and the demands of not being looked after because of the control of free question. In response, Mr Kumar said there was no truth in Prof Prasad’s argument.

“As I have said earlier on, that in some cases yes. In some cases they do refer to the ministry,” he added.

Opposition Member of Parliament Salote Radrodro also questioned the minister if he was aware of the $34 million owed in rate arrears as stated in the ministry’s 2013 annual report.

She said given that the report was from 2013, the amount owed would have escalated over the years. Mr Kumar said the arrears “are not of today, it is an accumulated fund and there is a recovery process in all municipalities”.

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