The Fiji Labour Party says government must reduce the size of Cabinet before attempting to downsize the civil service.
“There is absolutely no justification for 36 ministers in a House of 71. It is nothing short of buying political loyalty at tax payer’s expense, said FLP Leader Mahendra Chaudhry, in response to a statement by Mr Anare Jale, CEO of the Public Service Commission, that it was considering cutting the size of the service.
“Why attack the civil service? Why not cut the number of ministers by half as a demonstration of government’s commitment to observe the rules of financial discipline?,” questioned Mr Chaudhry.
We all know the near bankrupt state of government finances. While harsh measures may have become necessary to rescue the nation from financial collapse, the first act of sacrifice in this direction must come from those who govern the nation, said Mr Chaudhry.
Fiji’s economy is in serious trouble, forcing the Reserve Bank to take severe measures to arrest its rapid decline. More job losses are predicted in some of our major industries, driving many more families to join the poverty queue.
The shocking revelation by a recently released report on wages that 55% of our wage earners are paid below poverty-line wages is a shameful indictment of our nation’s social conscience.
Now is the time for the government to show the leadership that the country needs so badly. The custodians of the State’s treasury should exercise restraint and not help themselves while half the nation is left to starve.