NEWS

2022/2023 General Election; Next Step Starts

Law demands political parties to prove how they will fund promises and policies
10 May 2022 16:07
2022/2023 General Election; Next Step Starts
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Photo: DEPTFO News

The next step towards the National General Election was taken yesterday.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum released the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Update in line with the Financial Management (Amendment) Act 2021.

This information would now be used by all political parties to reveal how they would fund the promises and policies they would be announcing in their manifestos.

Section 27A of the Financial Management Act states that if a political party or any other person representing the party or acting under the direction of a political party candidate makes a financial commitment, whether orally or in writing, the political party or other candidate must immediately provide written explanation setting out the following information:

How revenue for the financial commitment is to be raised?

How expenditure for the financial commitments to be made?

How expenditure is to be allocated to different sectors and budgets and agencies?

That if expenditure exceeds revenue, how the deficit is to be financed?

“As you know, under the Financial Management Act we have to publish a pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update on the official Government webpage or the Ministry of Economy webpage within 14 days of the start of the campaign period for a general election,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“This is the first time ever such a requirement has been made since independence, that the Government has to publish the economic and fiscal updates of the broad financial management of the economy.

“What is the debt situation, the projected growth rates in the various sectors of the economy, payments, operational expenditure, etc.

“This, of course, ensures that members of the public have access to the outlook for the medium term, the details on the Government debt, contingent liabilities also, major fiscal risks, details of other socio-economic indicators.”

The pre-election and economic and fiscal Update are made available on www.economy.gov.fj or on the Fijian government website on www.fiji.gov.fj

He said the Fijian Elections Office would also ensure that political parties receive hard copies for easy access.

“It is critically important, ladies and gentlemen, when we go to elections, as we see with most mature jurisdictions, that whenever elections are held, and whenever political parties, for example, make or give assurances to the public or say the policies, they actually base it on facts and figures that are publicly available,” he said.

“So, if somebody comes along and says we are now going to make all the university studies for free, they have to be able to price it.

“You have to be able to say where will they get the money from, they have to be able to say that they’re going to keep the same level of deficit, then where will they cut from to be able to fund the tertiary education from.

“This is a standard practice in all matured jurisdictions going into elections. This will set a new standard, the Government has provided the figures and they can work on that.”

 



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