Opinion

Editorial: Taking On Board Advice By MOG Report

We need to be told up front how political parties plan to provide subsidies to business houses.
23 Feb 2019 10:15
Editorial: Taking On Board Advice By MOG Report
SODELPA MP Viliame Gavoka.

Fiji can take on board a number of international best practices from the Multinational Observer Group report on the 2018 General Election.

One of the first recommendations they need to implement is putting in place legislation, which puts the burden on the political parties to provide a budget for everything they promise in their election manifestos.

This is very important.

For far too long, we have had gullible Fijians falling for promises that politicians make in their manifestos.

While it has been a practice in a number of overseas countries, Fiji too should require political parties and their heads to reveal how they intend to fund their extravagant promises.

People should be told whether the increase in pensions, for example, will come at the cost of increased taxes.

We need to be told up front how political parties plan to provide subsidies to business houses.

When the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service revealed what the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) from up to 10 food items will mean to Fiji and the manner in which revenue collections would take a hit, they were accused of bias.

This defensive approach by political parties to shut down those reasoned voices should not be encouraged.

Organisations such as Fiji National Provident Fund, Fiji Revenue and Customs Service should be encouraged to give their views on political parties’ promises.

We have had Fiji Labour Party and SODELPA’s Viliame Gavoka continuously asking if pension for pensioners will be reverted to the old rates, which were in place before the restructure.

FNPF should be able to speak out there and then whether this is a prudent policy and, if it is, they should give their reasons for it.

But, if it is not, they should be able to explain why reverting to rates of up to 25 per cent to pensioners would not be a good thing.

But, this practice should be encouraged.

And, if Fiji takes on the recommendation of the Multinational Observer Group in this matter, it would no doubt provide the Fijian voters more clarity when analysing the policies of political parties.

When SODELPA talked about making tertiary education free, they should be able to tell us how they would do this.

When FijiFirst talks about providing more opportunities to younger Fijians, they should be able to tell us how they will be able to do this.

FijiFirst should start with providing legislation for this.

It would be interesting to note which party does not support this move, when the time comes.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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