Analysis

Analysis: Cabinet Reshuffle Needed To Happen

Government service delivery is critical in tackling the increasing demand for assistance from people affected by the severe economic impact.
19 Apr 2020 14:01
Analysis: Cabinet Reshuffle Needed To Happen
Minister for Defence, National Security Rural and Maritime Development, Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Premila Kumar and Minister for Commerce, Transport Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya.

The Cabinet reshuffle announced on Friday was inevitable and necessary given the new pressures facing the Government.

The global economic slowdown, natural disasters due to climate change and COVID-19 have presented unprecedented challenges.

Government service delivery is critical in tackling the increasing demand for assistance from people affected by the severe economic impact.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has taken back Foreign Affairs which he held at one stage.

It makes sense because that’s what he does anyway when he meets foreign leaders and their government representatives in his travels.

The change frees up Inia Seruiratu to focus on his additional role in Rural, Maritime Development and Disaster Management on top of his renamed Ministry of Defence, National Security and Policing.

Mr Seruiratu is no stranger to his additional role.

He had impressed Mr Bainimarama when he served as Commissioner Northern before he entered politics. His knowledge and experience in rural and maritime development and disaster management come in handy during these crises.

He has two able assistants in Vijay Nath and Jale Sigarara.

Mr Seruiratu’s military background makes him the logical choice for defence, national security and policing.

Jone Usamate continues as the Minister for Infrastructure and Meteorological Services with additional portfolios as the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources which was previously held by sacked Ashneel Sudhakar.

Lands usually attracts a lot of political scrutiny. Mr Usamate’s no-nonsense approach makes him the appropriate choice.

The return of lawyer Faiyaz Koya to Cabinet ranks bolsters its capability. He is a no stranger to Commerce, Trade and Tourism, which he served in the first term of the FijiFirst Government before he lost his seat in the 2018 general election. The ministry was formerly known as the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism formerly held by Premila Kumar. He will also serve as the Minister for Transport.

Let’s be fair to Ms Kumar. She had too much on her plate. As a newcomer to politics, she was overloaded. Now she can focus properly on Local Government, Housing and Community Development which requires time and effort in cleaning up and setting new standards.

Mahendra Reddy will continue to serve as the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Waterways and Environment. There’s no debate there. He is like a light bulb in the ministry.

His enthusiasm and new ideas are bright sparks in a Government side besieged by huge expectations from people. He is the flavour of the month with his initiative on backyard gardening.

His assistant Viam Pillay is a good operator who complements Mr Reddy’s leadership.

The reshuffle is expected to achieve improved outcomes.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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