The Fiji Labour Party, National Federation Party, People’s Alliance and Unity Fiji says they are concerned at the level of money being wasted by the current Government.
This has been highlighted during the economic debate on fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan while responding to a question about Government wastage.
National Federation Party Think Tank leading member, Richard Naidu says NFP Leader, Professor Biman Prasad’s estimate is that the wastage in the budget is about $500 million that we can probably bridge by cutting down wasteful expenditure and possibly looking at enhancing revenue.
He says they are constantly amazed at how inefficient the processes in Government are and that is not the fault of the public servants.
He says that is the fault of the completely frozen system as there are processes in Government that has not changed in over 50 years and everything is still being done on paper and everyone is still doing meeting where the whole idea of doing meeting via Zoom or Team is still alien to the Government.
He says these are processes that need to be completely re-looked at and modernised and from that a lot of efficiencies will come.
Naidu says Fiji was ranked 36th in the 2006 the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index out of about 190 countries but now our ranking is 102 while also in 2006, Fiji was ranked about 55th or 56th but now we are down to 162nd for Ease of Starting Business. He says this gives an idea for the loss of efficiency because while we have been allegedly reforming things, other countries have been moving in and transforming their public service and regulatory requirement.
Unity Fiji Leader, Savenaca Narube says there is $1 billion to be saved a year from wastage.
He says the transfers to public companies – operation and capital transfers is about $600 million every year.
He says this is one thing they will really need to cut back and they need to reform these organisations to stand on their own two feet.
He further says they have seen $400 million to roads and asks where has this money gone.
Narube says when he was the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Finance, around $2 million a year was allocated for vehicles but it now stands at $30 million a year for leased vehicles.
He further says the Government has a State law office so what are they doing hiring a private firm to do their legal work and to him, it does not make any sense.
The former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji says we have the Ministry of Information so why do we need to hire another public relation company from the US at $2 million a year.
People’s Alliance Deputy Leader, Manoa Kamikamica says there is genuine concern at the way capital expenditure has been expended by this Government where up to $400 to $500 million can be saved.
He says there are a couple of thousand Fijians in Papua New Guinea and we have a deep relationship with them but he cannot understand why the Fijian Embassy was closed and so was the one in Washington DC.
Kamikamica says yet there are other embassies that are in existence with no proper justification.
He further says a People’s Alliance Government will review the sugar industry because of the level of subsidy being pumped which according to his estimate is about $50 million a year.
The Party’s Deputy Leader says he noticed in one of the budgets, vehicles that were donated from China so how can the $30 million vehicle lease payment be reconciled.
He says capital allocation to the Fiji Roads Authority needs to be looked at correctly where he has noted perfectly good roads along the Coral Coast and Sawani are being ripped up and repaired.
He says they are going to remove allocation for Qorvis as it is an expenditure that is totally unnecessary.
Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says we are losing a lot of money to corrupt practices in the public and the private sector.
The former Prime Minister says there is a provision for a Code of Conduct legislation and the appointment of an Accountability and Transparency Commission in the Constitution.
He says the Constitution is now 8 years old but we neither have the Code of Conduct legislation nor the Accountability and Transparency Commission appointment and asks why this is so.
Chaudhry says they will be bringing it in and hopes any incoming Government will have a tight control on official corruption.
You can watch the full Straight Talk interview below.
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