Opinion

MP Aseri Radrodro Hitting Right Notes

He is shaping up as a future SODELPA leader in the making because of his performance in and outside Parliament. He gives Government credit where it’s due but is not
14 Mar 2018 19:44
MP Aseri Radrodro Hitting Right Notes
SODELPA MP Aseri Radrodro speaking in Parliament. Photo: Parliament of Fiji.

He is shaping up as a future SODELPA leader in the making because of his performance in and outside Parliament.

He gives Government credit where it’s due but is not afraid to speak out on issues raised by people he represents.

If there is one Opposition MP who is speaking with some substance in this parliamentary session, it is SODELPA MP Aseri Radrodro.

And he has been able to do it because he has done his homework.

Despite what some in his own party think about him, he has emerged as one of SODELPA’s hardest working MPs leading up to the 2018 general election.

He has not only covered Naitasiri Province which endorsed him as a candidate for the election, he has visited other provinces in Viti Levu in response to requests from party supporters.

He may be breaking party campaign rules that stipulate that candidates concentrate on the provinces that nominated them. It is understood that he is doing it in the interest of the party.

Only national candidates like party leader Sitiveni Rabuka and Lynda Tabuya are allowed to campaign nation-wide.

It is because of his visits he is able to quote examples when he was speaking in reply to a ministerial statement on the economy.

Speaking on equal distribution of the nation’s wealth through development, he said: “People in rural areas like those in Waibasaga Village in Naitasiri are still crossing the Wainimala River by foot, because the Irish crossing they were promised after elections in 2014, remains a myth. Similarly, those in Natawa Village in Nadi, following the major floods of 2009, remain without a bridge and now carry their sick and their dead over swollen rivers by foot.”

“Madam Speaker, my task is to represent the people of this nation and state things as they are,” he told Parliament.

It’s the measure of the man when he said at the same breath that “it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the developments and services that have been extended to our people by the Fiji First government.”

Not many Opposition MPs can admit that – the fact that infrastructure development by the FijiFirst Government has been unprecedented.

“But, we on this side of the House, obviously hold the view that it’s not enough.”

One of the issues he has picked up during his campaign trail is the need for better access to Fiji TV and FBC TV, in some rural and outlying islands.

He said that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had its own limitations.

“It does not account for those who are unemployed or retired,” he said in response to an earlier statement by Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The GDP is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period, often referred to as the size of the economy.

Mr Radrodro had disputed what he called “the notion that the GDP growths in Fiji have resulted in the improvement of the quality of life and standard of living of the people of Fiji.”

He claimed poor economic management had resulted in huge public debt.

“Calculations of the debt level has been stated to be equivalent to 44.4 per cent of Fiji’s gross domestic product (GDP), one can only imagine what this means for our cost of living and future sustainability,” Mr Radrodro said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had said that the Government’s debt to GDP ratio had declined from 56 per cent in 2010 to 45.6 per cent at the end of the 2016-2017 financial year. He said this was the lowest level of debt to GDP ratio in the last 15 years since 2002.

He said Government had been committed to prudent financial management by maintaining relatively low physical deficits, saying on average, physical deficit in the last 10 years had been around 2 per cent of the GDP.

He said the IMF (International Monetary Fund) had validated that the Government’s debt policies and debt position were sound and sustainable.

Mr Radrodro has encouraged Government to listen to the Opposition on occasions.

“It will actually assist you to take corrective measures,” he said.

“Dialogue with people and stop the top down approach.

“A government that listens will be judged favourably during polls. Otherwise, they certainly will set themselves up to fail.”

Ironically, Mr Radrodro is known to have had good working relationship with some of the ministers in resolving grievances and needs of the people. He does not wait for Parliament to raise these issues.

Mr Radrodro features prominently in the official records of Parliament which keep a track of the MPs’ activities as they carry out their responsibilities.

With his impressive track record, it therefore came as a shock that there was an alleged move within his party to stop him from standing in the election.

While that issue is now water under the bridge after rival groups made up in a recent reconciliation meeting, Mr Radrodro is shaping up as the future party leader after incumbent Sitiveni Rabuka bows out.

He is regularly featuring in the Fiji Sun-Razor opinion poll so he must be doing something right. Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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