Parliament agrees to increase sessions

2019 Parliament Calendar.

GOOD news for those who follow the country’s parliamentary proceedings.

For the 2018-2019 session, both sides of the House have agreed for extra sitting days, taking the total sitting months to nine, compared with seven months for the 2017-2018 session.

This means there will be 45 sitting days this session, compared with 30 days for the 2017-2018 session.

The motion to adopt the calendar for Parliament sitting was unanimously passed by the House yesterday.

Leader of Government Inia Seruiratu said the parliamentary business committee met on Monday to discuss the calendar.

He said the calendar had been scheduled for January to November.

The January sitting, he said, would be flexible.

He said they had also discussed the date of announcing the national budget for the financial year 2019-2020.

Speaker of Parliament Dr Luveni announced that members of the parliamentary business committee had increased from five to seven.

National Federation Party MP Professor Biman Prasad said changes in the Parliament calendar were agreed in the business committee.

“It’s good that we have more sessions, but it’s obvious that Government has the upper hand. They have adjusted the Parliament sitting to fit their schedule and commitments,” he said.

When asked for a comment on the sitting dates, Government Whip Alvick Maharaj said he would need to seek approval from the FijiFirst party general secretary before he could make any comment.

Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya said the Opposition had been calling for a longer parliament sitting time to discuss issues that were important to the nation and welcomed any initiatives to increase the chance to serve the people of Fiji effectively.

Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka was not available for comment when this edition went to press last night.

In the last session, the Opposition expressed disappointment over less sitting days, claiming Government was depriving Fijians of robust parliamentary debates and information.

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