Analysis | Politics

Rabuka’s Response Predictable But Offers Very Little Solution

He labelled the Budget “Extraordinary” and a “Doomsday Budget” saying it would bring the country to its knees.
28 Jul 2020 10:30
Rabuka’s Response Predictable But Offers Very Little Solution
Ranoba Baoa Leader of Opposition and Shadow Minister for Economy Sitiveni Rabuka outside Parliament on July 27, 2020. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

As predicted Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka went on the offensive against Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and his Budget in Parliament yesterday.

He labelled the Budget “Extraordinary” and a “Doomsday Budget” saying it would bring the country to its knees.

While he went to great lengths to try to discredit Mr Sayed-Khaiyum over the debt to GDP ratio of 80 per cent he offered little solutions to the plight of more than 115,000 workers who have lost their jobs or are working under reduced hours because of the severe impact of COVID-19.

He must be incensed with Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s excellent presentation in Parliament.

Rabuka’s response:

Mr Rabuka said: “On many occasions, I have called on the government for a bipartisan approach in addressing issues of national interest, but it always fallen on deaf ears. Our suggestions have been brushed aside for political mileage. This side of the house has been demeaned and belittled several times before and the confrontational thinking continues, with reconciliation remaining a dream.

“Mr Speaker sir, I was listening to the Hon. Minister for Economy with great concern. Of course, he sounded serious with his words about how different this COVID-19 situation was in the history of mankind. Indeed, this is a tragic phase of human history where millions of people are going through very difficult times.

“But Mr Speaker sir, despite this great tragedy glaring in our eyes every day and moment, the Minister of Economy continues to ride on his high pedestal. He makes me laugh when he brags about himself and his achievements.”

And he went on and on accusing Mr Sayed-Khaiyum of being selective, saying this Budget would put the nation in perpetual debt.

But little came from Mr Rabuka on how we could reduce our debt portfolio and at the same time fund all the initiatives in the Budget to crank up the engine room of our economy.

As Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said we need to get our people back working. That can only happen if we keep our businesses operating. It makes economic sense. We need to spend money to put people back to work. It will in turn put money into people’s pockets and boost spending and consumption.

Look at it as a form of investment not a handout, if that’s what Mr Rabuka is referring to.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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