‘Media must scrutinise budgets’

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum pictured with members of the media during the Fiji Media Association Budget Reporting workshop at the Moana Anglican Services and Teaching Centre in Suva on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THE media must look at the Opposition’s responses to the national budget as a tool of good governance and taxpayers funding accountability, says Opposition MP Aseri Radrodro.

While addressing journalists during the Fijian Media Association’s (FMA) budget reporting workshop in Suva yesterday, Mr Radrodro recognised the media for covering budget responses from the Opposition, however, said that the coverage did not always cover the pertinent issues captured in their responses.

“The media can seek further clarifications from the Opposition on their budget responses especially on important issues –– 20 minutes doesn’t allow MPs to properly scrutinise so build on their responses further,” he said.

“The media must appreciate that the Opposition will always represent the ordinary men, women and children and all stakeholders.”

With the 2019/2020 National Budget to be announced next Friday, Mr Radrodro called on the media to “do its homework”.

He claimed most times when it came to the budget sessions, the media only took on board the new budget.

“The media must spend time scrutinising, for example, last year’s budget. How much of that was actually implemented? What were the reasons for any non-implementation? Was the budget actually released? Was it bad weather?

“The media must look at the issues covered by the Opposition in previous years and review if Government has addressed them?”

He said this was one way to also gauge if Opposition contributions had been of assistance to Government especially if they were valid issues.

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