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What is This Election About?

This is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s My Say for the FBC TV programme ‘4 The Record’ last night. In case people forget, this general election is about choosing
26 Mar 2018 16:04
What is This  Election About?

This is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s My Say for the FBC TV programme ‘4 The Record’ last night.

In case people forget, this general election is about choosing a government that is responsive to their basic needs.

That should be the bottom line – a Government that listens and acts on issues that affect the daily lives of people. At the same time, it must be prudent in managing the nation’s finances to avoid the rapid depletion of our reserves that act as a buffer to potential future dip in our economic growth.

Natural disasters and world market trends have a direct impact on our economic performance. These are developments we have no control over.  But we do have control in the way we adjust the way we do things to ensure our economic sustainability. This could lead to austerity measures that people may not like but are essential for our economic survival.

In 2016, we were fortunate that Tropical Cyclone Winston did not devastate our hotels and resorts. It spared many of the industries and centres of business activities.

We should thank God for it and hope that his divine hand of providence and mercy protects them from these  natural weather events.

We cannot rule out that a similar strength cyclone will hit us in the future. Whatever happens, we should be prepared for it. That is why it is so important that we build our climate change resilience.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Climate Change, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, have been telling us that it is important to take climate change seriously.

If we are listening carefully we will hear both of them talk about the economic implications of climate change frequently. That’s the reality of the situation we now face. Climate change is an essential part of the equation at all levels of our economic planning.

We ignore it at our own peril. That’s a number one priority in any in-coming government after the election.

While tax is the main source of revenue for the Government, a good size of our population – those earning up to $30,000 – need to be grateful because they do not pay income tax. It’s an attempt to increase their ability to spend more on lifting their standard of living.

That includes:

ν decent housing, rented or owned;

ν Healthy living. Good food and healthy lifestyle;

ν Reliable medical service that is easily accessible;

ν Good education that will lead to qualification and a secure job; and

ν Opportunities to start their small business and use their resources for commercial use. They become participants in economic development.

Many of these issues are  being addressed by the FijiFirst Government. Because they are work in progress, it is expected to continue developing them.

Opinion polls so far show that it’s the day-to-day, bread and butter issues that people are focusing on. They will look for a party that meets their needs, hopes and aspirations.

Many of these issues affect us all, jobs, cost of living, housing, education and medical, irrespective of our ethnicity, culture, religion or economic status.

So for those politicians who are using race and religion in their campaign, they will alienate voters. This is the politics of old, the politics of division that had  reated bitter acrimony and racial and religious tension in the past. Those who lived through that, I am sure, would not want to go through it again.

Those who were born after that love the current environment which promotes equality, a merit-based system and fairness.

Policies or ideologies that fail to address everyday issues that I have raised will become irrelevant.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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