PM Bainimarama attacks Opposition; Defends Government’s performance

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama . Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday delivered his right of reply to President Jioji Konrote’s Parliament opening speech but he did not counter the statistical breakdown of the “national debt crisis” raised by National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad.

The PM said the Government would only deal with accurate information as modern Fiji was not built “on an unstable foundation of conjecture and fabrication”.

He said the unprecedented progress of Fiji’s economy was not his opinion, but “conclusions drawn from data verified by independent third-party agencies like the IMF, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s”.

“If you accept that reality, if your contributions meet the high bar we’ve set, in the committees as well as in this chamber, I assure you, we will treat them seriously.

“But if you continue to conduct yourselves at your current level of gutter politics, if you continue to manufacture despair and make a mockery of truth and decorum, I will make no apologies for calling out any of you.”

The PM was also silent on the Grace Road saga and the alleged assault of a 16-year-old boy by soldiers.

His address lectured on patriotism, mainly aimed at Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka whom he called a “selfish, short-sighted and a hateful ethnic supremacist” and Opposition MPs for their “attack” of the President’s Parliament opening address.

Mr Bainimarama said the Opposition continued to sow ethnic division and provincial discord while the economy had grown over the past decade under his leadership.

“But my record today speaks for itself. As our economy has grown, with strength and consistency, for 10 straight years, as per capita income has more than doubled. As unemployment has plummeted to the lowest rate in two decades, as we’ve taken foreign reserves to record heights, as we’ve revolutionised the education system.

“As we’ve built bigger and better national assets and secured greater private sector development, and as we’ve seen network of essential services rapidly expand, our people have damn good reason to say they are proud to be Fijian.”

Opposition MP Professor Biman Prasad said Fiji’s total debt in July 2020 is projected to be about $6.18 billion.

He said this could happen if Government fulfilled its borrowing obligations of $1.019b under the 2019-2020 budget and met projected loan repayments of more than $617 million.

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