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A-G: Budget Consultation Should Not Be Politicised

A-G: Budget Consultation Should Not Be Politicised
Members of the public with Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Budget Consultations at Tavua College on April 8, 2017. Photo: DEPTFO News
April 09
11:02 2017

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the Budget Consultations should not be used as a place to politicise issues.

He made the comment at Penang Sangam School in Rakiraki after former politician and businessman, George Shiu Raj, said all previous governments had assisted the public in different ways.

Mr Shiu Raj’s comments followed Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s presentation of details on the national budget and its workings.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the forum was for submissions to be made so that Government could take into consideration the public’s views.

Thereafter Mr Shiu Raj submitted that Government set aside $500,000 towards the dredging of the river running from the pump station at Qalitu towards the sea.

He said the state of the river was the problem that had caused the loss of revenue to businesses in Rakiraki Town. He also submitted Government give a rebate for those businesses which were affected by the floods.

He said Government could also seek aid towards the construction of a hospital to deal mainly with heart surgery but Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said what was needed more was the training of local doctors to become specialists in different medical fields.

“We are now offering local doctors free to attain higher qualifications which would see Fiji have their own specialists in the future,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

At that same time Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said a team led by the Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar would leave for India soon to hire specialists to be based here and at the same time train our local doctors.

 

TAVUA TOWN

In Tavua, Rohit Kishore submitted that Government offer tax breaks for small businesses.

Businessman Dhirendra Singh, also from Tavua, submitted an extension to the town boundary.

Mr Singh also submitted that Government also create more playing fields for the people of Tavua

He also submitted the upgrading of roads at Vatia and Nadarivatu. He said Vatia Wharf could become a haven for super yachts as the sea was deep and there was congestion at places like the Port of Denarau. With Nadarivatu, he said the upgrade of the roads could lead to the area becoming a tourist destination because of the mahogany trees and exotic birds in that area.

Other submissions in Tavua included more development in Fiji’s service sector.

In Rakiraki Malakai Waqatabu submitted that Government re-open the Penang Mill. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum explained why the decision was made to close the Mill and reassured those present, including farmers, that none of them would be out of pocket with the transportation of sugar cane from Rakiraki to Rarawai Mill in Ba.

There was also a submission from a farmer for Government to provide uniforms and lunch for school children under the Free Education Programme.

Meanwhile, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum labelled an online report by the Fiji Times as another example of selective reporting by that newspaper.

A report was posted online by reporter Felix Chaudhary where he stated that no one had attended the Budget Consultations at Tavua College yesterday.

The Fiji Sun was the only media present during the consultations which had several submissions made by the public who had attended.

“This demonstrates the Fiji Times narrowed view of events happening in Fiji that are being done by the Government,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“Although there weren’t large numbers there were members of the public who turned up and some submissions were made.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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