Politics

Reddy Challenges Opposition MPs To Prove Their Claims

“Is it because you are the Opposition and you have to oppose the budget?” he said.
29 Jul 2020 15:05
Reddy Challenges Opposition MPs To Prove Their Claims
Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Dr Mahendra Reddy outside of Parliament on July 28, 2020. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

The Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Waterways, Mahendra Reddy, yesterday challenged the remaining Opposition speakers in the 2020-2021 National Budget response to prove their claims that the Budget was irresponsible, rudderless and deceiving.

As Mr Reddy delivered his response, he said, so far the Opposition MPs had made unsubstantiated claims without providing an ounce of proof.

He said so far no evidence has been brought forward to say why they were running down the budget.

Mr Reddy also questioned as to why the Leader of Opposition Sitiveni Rabuka had changed his tone about the budget because straight after the announcement last week, he had said it was a courageous budget.

“Is it because you are the Opposition and you have to oppose the budget?” he said.

Mr Reddy said Mr Rabuka is the reason why the sugar industry was at its knees. He said Mr Rabuka led to many landowners not renewing the land leases.

He said land leases were not renewed under the pretext that landowners would take over cane production.

He said this was the reason why so many farms in the North and West which used to grow cane are left to nature.

“The Ministry of Agriculture is grateful to the Government for the allocated $65.3 million in the 2020/2021 National Budget which is an increase of $3.4 million from our current 2019/2020 budget of $61.8m,” he said.

Mr Reddy said agriculture productivity had increased and yields had never been greater.

“It has been just a few months since our first COVID-19 case. It almost seems like a lifetime ago, but in fact, we are only at the beginning of a very long fight,” he said.

“This will continue for many more months till the end of the year, and perhaps even beyond.

“Budgeting in an uncertain climatic and economic future is not an easy task, and as such, I applaud the vision and mind behind the 2020/21 budget.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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