We should have focused on other priorities than spending $65M on Queen Elizabeth Drive – Prof. Prasad

We should have focused on other priorities than spending $65M on Queen Elizabeth Drive – Prof. Prasad

By Iliana Biutu , Rashika Kumar
Monday 04/03/2024
[Image: File]

We spent a lot of money on projects which were not a priority such as spending $65 million on Queen Elizabeth Drive as opposed to other urgent priorities. This has been highlighted by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad during fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan where he says there is a new guideline on public infrastructure so that they can look at the opportunity cost and see what is more important – building a road or a new hospital, two health centres or more classrooms.

While responding to questions about spending $65 million on a narrower Queen Elizabeth Drive, Professor Prasad says when you have other priorities like building more schools, classrooms, improving the facilities at the CWM Hospital or the Maternity Unit, why would you want to put $65 million into a project no matter how good the objective might be.

He says they do not have an unlimited amount so they have to decide what is more important and there is a criteria to do things.

Professor Prasad further says when they came into government, they realised that the Fiji Roads Authority had spent its budget within the first six months and they not only had no money but they also owed money to the contractors.

He says the government provided additional funding within the existing budget through redeployment and paid contractors where some are not happy with how they have been paid.

Professor Prasad says when they got budget submissions from FRA, they realised some projects were done at exorbitant cost and value for money was never a consideration but they are now getting value for money where the contractors are fixing the roads at a lower cost.

He says they are now making quality roads.

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