Release reports, State told

THE National Federation Party says the Government should publicly release evaluation reports and statistical data for micro-medium business grants since the scheme’s implementation three years ago.

Party general secretary Jagannath Sami said the data would conform to recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur who visited Fiji on a fact-finding mission in December 2016.

Mr Sami said the UN Rapporteur, both in his preliminary findings and final report to the UN Human Rights Council in June this year, recommended the need for statistical and desegregated data for amongst other things, income, access to social and economic services and rights to evaluate the effectiveness of merit-based programs implemented by Government.

“The UN Rapporteur stated that without this, it will be difficult to assess the effectiveness of many merit-based programs,” he said.

He said it was in the interest of transparency, accountability and good governance that reports of any scheme involving both donor and taxpayers’ funds were released to the public through Parliament.

“The intention of this scheme designed to help our people particularly in the rural and peri-urban areas is laudable but apart from ministerial statements in Parliament, the taxpayers of Fiji do not know how effective this scheme is.”

“Three years have lapsed since the distribution of $1000 grant to individuals wanting to start a small business to earn their livelihood was started.

“The NFP fully supports any scheme that assists the poor and vulnerable in the society.

“However, we reiterate that for the sake of transparency and accountability, the Government is obligated to provide to the public the policies, criteria for selection of recipients and the evaluation reports to-date on the impact the scheme has on the beneficiaries of such grants.”

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