Life hard, less jobs

National Federation Party president Pio Tikoduadua and party leader Prof Biman Prasad with the party’s manifesto during its launch at Vunimono, Nausori last night. Picture: RAMA

THREE political parties believe life in Fiji is getting harder with less jobs being created for Fijians.

As we head towards the 2018 General Election, The Fiji Times asked the six registered political parties contesting the 2018 polls on what would be their policies on job creation for Fijians.

The National Federation Party, Social Democratic Liberal Party and the Unity Fiji party are in agreement that wages have not kept up with the escalating cost of living. HOPE party, FijiFirst party and the Fiji Labour Party did not respond to the question when this edition went to press last night.

Questions were sent to the parties via electronic mail (email) on Tuesday.

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad said planning for job opportunities required all parties to work together.

“That includes the political parties in Parliament because this involves creating an economy for the future. And that takes longer than four years,” Prof Prasad said.

“So whoever is the government after 14 November must work with the other parties on laws on which we can all agree that will realign our economy. “The future for young people is changing more quickly than ever before. Fewer people are in formal employment.

“More people are working for themselves. Sometimes this is good. It gives people freedom to work in their own time and at their own pace,” he said.

SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka said empirical evidence suggested that the only way to create meaningful employment opportunities was through effective and sustainable investment.

“Sustainable effective investment can only be achieved through true democracy, freedom of expression, media freedom, and above all, a stable government through consistency of policy,” Mr Rabuka said.

He said an enabling environment for the private sector to invest was imperative. Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube said the rising house prices had shattered the dreams of young families of securing a decent home and pushed the poor people out of houses that were built for them.

“Unemployment, especially among the youths, is extremely high, exacerbated by the importation of low-skilled workers from abroad,” he claimed.

“Multiple tiers of taxes have raised the cost of doing businesses in Fiji. Government fees impose a heavy burden on small businesses when they need assistance to grow.

“Licensing fees are robbing incomes of the poor people who fish from their traditional fishing grounds.”

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