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Analysis: Do They Offer Better Alternatives To Match Or Better FijiFirst’s Performance?

Analysis: Do They Offer Better Alternatives To Match Or Better FijiFirst’s Performance?
Hopeful Fijians waiting patiently to get their Home Care Initiative Assistance at Shirley Park, Lautoka, yesterday.
May 19
13:52 2018

As we peel away the layers of rhetoric from the Opposition camp, there is very little to be excited about when one looks at the policies in their manifes­tos.

They must come up with clear policies that carry some basic details to give the voters an idea what they are offering.

Take for example, education.

Opposition SODELPA MP Viliame Ga­voka once told Parliament that they would make tertiary education free to replace the current TELS and Toppers schemes.

But in the SODELPA manifesto, it is pret­ty vague. It talks about reviewing the cur­rent system.

Free tuition for all tertiary students sounds appealing to the students and their families.

The question is: Where will the money come from? But this should be explained when the party is presenting this policy. Policies may have this initial “feel good” attraction, but the cost reality question and answer gives it substance and credibility.

As we come close to the election and the campaigns intensify there will be a flurry of activities to lure voters.

In the rush, attention to the details and facts could be lost.

If the Opposition has any hope of win­ning the election it must do better than what FijiFirst has produced and continues to roll out.

As the Fiji Sun-Razor poll shows, FijiFirst is comfortably in the lead with its scores in the 60s.

HERE IS A LIST OF ITS INITIATIVES THAT ARE CONTRIBUTING TO ITS POPULARITY:

  • Free school fees, free bus fares, free textbooks, Weet-Bix and milk for Year one students;
  • Building of technical schools to cater for students who have dropped out from ac­ademic streams, but want to pursue trade and vocational courses;
  • TELS and Toppers schemes offer op­portunities for more students to study at tertiary institutions. An ordinary villager told me recently he is grateful for TELS. It has given his son an opportunity to study medicine. He calls it a lifeline;
  • $10 million set aside to help provide much needed capital for landowners to commercially develop their land;
  • Decentralising Government services designed to take these services close to the people. An example is the Legal Aid offices that have been set up around the country to help those who cannot afford lawyers seek justice;
  • Focus on building infrastructure as a prerequisite to national development. A substantial amount of public funds has been allocated to build new roads, bridges, jetties, health centres, hospitals, schools etc;
  • The enactment of the Fair Share Miner­al Royalties Bill. For the first time, all land­owners will receive royalties of mineral mining. Before they were kept by Govern­ment. Now landowners will get 80 per cent and Government will retain 20 per cent;
  • The assistance to squatters in informal settlements to acquire proper leases and be economically empowered;
  • $1000 small business grants to help people from the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder to start their own busi­nesses. Thousands have benefitted from this scheme;

n Seasonal Worker Scheme, which is giv­ing Fijians the opportunity to work in New Zealand and Australia and return home with savings to help develop their homes and communities;

  • One of the latest initiatives, the Cyclone Assistance Relief Effort (CARE) for Fiji, is attracting a lot of response, particularly the Homes-CARE assistance. Under this scheme, people who were hit by floods and winds would have their household items replaced; and
  • Eight consecutive years of economic growth, which included TC Winston’s dev­astation. The list goes on and it’s a formida­ble one for the Opposition to beat.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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