Letters

Letters To The Editor, 8th November 2018

4 The Record Steven Singh, Sydney Arvind Mani of Nadi (Fiji Sun -7/11) summed up his brilliant piece to perfec­tion regarding the FBC’s 4 The Record programme. As for Mr.
08 Nov 2018 13:33
Letters To The Editor, 8th November 2018

4 The Record

Steven Singh, Sydney

Arvind Mani of Nadi (Fiji Sun -7/11) summed up his brilliant piece to perfec­tion regarding the FBC’s 4 The Record programme.

As for Mr. Kamal Iyer, his recalcitrant behaviour just oozed pure belligerence, perhaps just a fall guy NFP sent in to take a hit for the team.

As far as the presenters go, I concur with your sentiments and share your frustration, and all I can say for Indra Singh and Geraldine Sen is that your ar­rogance preceded your ignorance. Please lift your game.

Stick to the facts with debate

Donald Singh, Lautoka

I am not advocating for anyone or any party here. The National Minimum Wage (NMW) debate has constantly been blown out of proportion by political op­portunists and unions (now also political opportunists).

The $2.68 per hour must not be mistak­ened or confused. I am not an economist, and neither am I dumb, and I get it.

Wage sectors have already got their minimum wage rates and I will not list them here lest I also start re-telling news like some regulars do on these pages.

The NMW rate of $2.68 per hour is al­ready very decent. How on earth would it be financially viable for my pineapple farmer friend to start paying his labour­ers $2.68 per hour for 8 hours a day?

That would be $21.45 a day. He actu­ally pays his men $15/day, and the men never work for more than 6 hours a day, sometimes they work for 3 hours a day, on some days when it rains unexpectedly, they work 1 hour, but still get paid their $15. If my farmer friend were to pay $4 or $5 or the hilarious $10, he would have to sell the farm in no time and I would have to think a hundred times before trying to buy it.

Fellow citizens, please get the picture. The $2.68 that we currently have, if strictly implemented and followed, will cause panic and chaos.

Babysitters, housegirls or maids, gar­deners and farm labourers among a few others are currently getting around $12 to $15 per day on average and they are pretty satisfied with the pay, which comes with meals on most occasions.

My farmer friend has cousins who are farmers as well and who keep telling him to pay $12 and provide food. He isn’t lis­tening, not yet.

I have absolutely no interest in listen­ing to political jargon, gimmicks and I have not bothered trying to know the who’s who of what party.

I do, however, have interest in sensible debate, and most talks out there are as nonsensical as they can get.

When a party talks about increasing the NMW rate, they seem to be deliber­ately misleading the voter public, some of whom are still very much gullible. I would rather keep the MNW at $2.68 and increase the minimum wage rates in each wage sector instead. For example, the minimum wage in the construction sector is a little over $3 per hour. I would rather attempt to increase that, but with proper appraisal and wide consultation.

Imagine a gardener getting $5 an hour. Instead of finishing his job at a fixed agreed rate (of $15) in about 3 hours (on ‘task’ basis), he will slug along for 8 hours and claim $40 for the same work that can only be quantitatively argued and justi­fied as being for 3 hours.

Putting aside the $5 per hour, the gar­dener works earnestly for 3 hours, gets his honest wage, goes home by 11am, eats, rests and then embarks on his next job in the afternoon on another site, for more money.

Bringing in the $5 per hour, he slugs along, gets his dishonest wage, hits his employer badly in the pocket and drasti­cally lowers his own productivity.

Politicians, please, keep it honest. If you go around campaigning, please let people see the lustre in you, see the intel­ligence, see your honesty. Campaign on facts please.

If something is broken now or is break­ing, or may potentially break soon, then tell us your plan.

Nobody will steal your plans if you tell them now (if you lose the elections). Even if the winning party does steal your plan (campaign manifesto), then you must be proud to have effected a change. Hilari­ous campaign speeches do not entice me.

As for the NMW, parties, please keep it clear and honest. Don’t hoodwink the people into believing something that’s not workable in our economy.

If you tell me that your party will en­sure that I will get uninterrupted Sky TV, I will lend an ear.

Road hump hazard

Satish Nakched, Suva

Last year in September the motorist were taken by surprise when two sets of the road humps without any notice were installed along the Ratu Dovi Road near the Coca-Cola factory at Laucala Beach.

Later on the Fiji Roads Authority claimed that it was a hazardous spot where many accidents took place and the speed was reduced to 30kmph.

The FRA stated that it is only a tempo­rary arrangement and the directive will be reviewed.

It is more than a year now and the rub­ber humps have come off its fixtures and are scattered on the road.

The loose rubber is dangerous that can be caught under the wheels of the vehi­cle and contribute to accidents or cause damage to the body of the smaller vehi­cles. There are also exposed bolts that were used to hold the rubber road humps down on the road and this can easily cause a tyre puncture.

If there is no need of the road humps can this debri be removed for the safety of all the road users.

Minimum wage debate

Heenali Bhagwan, Nadi

The National Federation Party (NFP) says they will help those who are unable to pay their employees $5 an hour. Is this practical?

As we heard on the Fiji Broadcast­ing Corporation’s Aaina talkback show between the FijiFirst party’s general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and NFP’s Attar Singh, we heard that busi­nessmen have said that they would re­duce their staff if the minimum wage was increased to $5 because businesses would not be capable of sustaining this amount.

On this point, the party (NFP) says they will help these businesses financially.

How is this possible? How will they monitor and verify the accuracy of data presented to them by businesses? What if the businesses use this money for other purposes? Another very important thing to ponder upon is how farmers will pay their employees?

We very well know that the agricultur­al sector is vital for the economy. With $5 minimum wage rate, farmers would have to cut down on the number of peo­ple they employ, which means reduced produce in the market.

Not only farmers, other sectors will be affected as well. This increased wage rate could lead to a high level of unem­ployment in our country.

NFP also said they would remove VAT on rice, flour, noodles etc and impose re­duced VAT on items such as ghee, school shoes and other items.

This means Government will not get sufficient revenue to help businesses pay their employees, give basic services to the general public and reach out to areas that are in need of infrastructure (roads, schools, water supply, electricity etc) up­grade.

If this is the plan, Fiji’s economy will crumble in no time.

One more promise made by NFP is re­duced duty on liquor. What do we infer from this?

Do we say NFP could be encouraging crime? Why do I say this – reducing duty on alcohol means people can afford alco­hol on a daily basis leading to drinking and driving.

Accident rates will increase. More vio­lence in those households where men and women have a habit of drinking ex­cessively.

Children will be neglected. More rob­beries, murders could occur because the general theory is where there is intoxica­tion there is crime. All this adds up to an increased crime rate.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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