NEWS

PM vs Ratu Naiqama Over Bias

Economic benefits should be shared by all Fijians and not just iTaukei, said Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. He was responding to concerns from Opposition parliamentarian Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, that the
13 Dec 2014 09:45
PM vs Ratu Naiqama Over Bias
From left: Minister for Lands, Mere Vuniwaqa, Assistant Minister for Tourism Lorna Eden, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar and Assistant Minister for Health Veena Bhatnagar (obscured) decided to wear kalavata in Parliament yesterday, welcoming the Christmas season. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

Economic benefits should be shared by all Fijians and not just iTaukei, said Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

He was responding to concerns from Opposition parliamentarian Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, that the divestment of shares in state-owned enterprises would not benefit iTaukei.  “We are concerned that foreign companies will come in and bring in elements of human trafficking, drugs and terrorism,”  said Ratu Naiqama.

The Opposition parliamentarian recommended Fijian Holdings, the flagship company for iTaukei involvement in business as a primary beneficiary of any divestment of shares.  “Our local people have extensive experience to manage reforms and take up leadership positions,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama was not pleased with Ratu Naiqama’s statement and reacted strongly in Parliament. “You can see how confused people are. If no one has any constructive ideas in the lead-up to Parliament then they will lie in Parliament, “ he said.

Ratu Naiqama’s concerns were raised as part of a motion to consider Fijian Holdings as a beneficiary of the divestment of shares in the state-owned enterprises.

Mr Bainimarama dimissed suggestions of preference of one group in Fiji over another.

“Government works for the people of Fiji,” he said. He reminded Ratu Naiqama that he was the Cabinet Minister responsible for signing the Cabinet papers that sold the land at Momi, Nadi, site of a exclusive tourist resort.

The Prime Minister was backed by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who stressed that Government could not just give preference to any particular company.

Coming to Ratu Naiqama’s defence, Viliame Gucake said Fijian Holdings was one of the top five companies in Fiji. Mr Gucake said Fijian Holdings had 16 to 17 subsidiary companies that worked in partnership with top supermarket chains.

The motion was defeated by 31 Government votes.

Feedback:  josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 




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