Ex-PM says announcement a ‘self-praise of government actions’

Leader of Opposition and Shadow Minister for Economy Sitiveni Rabuka. Picture: RAMA/FT FILE

IT is important that Government should seek advice from the Reserve Bank of Fiji when mapping out the national budget, says Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

In his response to the 2019/2020 National Budget in Parliament yesterday, the former prime minister said the next financial year’s budget “would hurt the poor more”.

Mr Rabuka said he was very disappointed with the budget address and more so about the future of his children and grandchildren.

This, he said, was because there was nothing in the budget to assure them the confidence that there was hope for the future if the country remained on the same trajectory.

“Mr Speaker sir, I am not at all surprised with the budget announcement, it is just another grandstanding speech, full of talk, a lot of hype, self-praise of Government actions, lacking depth, and totally lacking vision for our collective future,” Mr Rabuka said.

He said the 2019/2020 budget would hurt the poor more and benefit the selected few businesses who would continue to fill their pockets.

He claimed that despite the reduction in expenditure, the national debt would continue to increase.

“As usual, it is full of big ideas, poor policy framework and poor service delivery. The confidence of the private sector will continue to erode because of inconsistency of policy and the lack of stability in the nation.”

Mr Rabuka added there was need for consistent policies to be in place and also policies that provided incentives for investment.

“These investments will provide employment opportunities in the labour market he said. Better targeting of our social sector spending in education, health, poverty alleviation, women in development and youth is necessary to ensure better value for money.”

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