Government in Fiscal Crisis

  • 3rd June 2003
  • 2003
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The Fiji Labour Party has been informing the nation consistently that the SDL regime cannot manage tax payers funds.

The statements by the Prime Minister that the state has no money to pay a COLA of more than 2% to civil servants, and the PM’s statement that the next budget will be a tight budget, finally acknowledges that the regime is in deep fiscal crisis.

The way the Qarase government has been conducting itself when it comes to taxpayers’ money, is a glaring example of extremely bad fiscal management. It has been running to the Parliament with supplementary appropriation after supplementary appropriation. Within a period of less than 18 months in office, the Qarase regime has sought 2 budgets and 3 supplementary appropriations. This is a record for any government in peace times.

On many occasions, the funds sought by the regime in supplementary appropriations should have rightfully been included in the budget proper. This indicates clearly that the SDL government has no ability to budget.

The Auditor-General has also been consistently raising his concerns at the abuse of public funds going on under the Qarase regime. Such abuse of taxpayers funds have cost the nation many millions of dollars.

It is now normal to hear of and witness corruption scandal after corruption scandal in the country. Despite the massive evidence of corruption, the regime has remained unmoved. So much so, it is now believed that the cancer of bad governance has reached even the PM’s office.

Under the SDL, the country has suffered untold damage. The economic condition has been deteriorating. Poverty levels have reached heights which were never seen or heard of in the country. Unemployment continues to rise. Prices of basic goods and services are continuing to escalate. Workers are emasculated in the job market. The weak and the vulnerable are becoming weaker and more vulnerable by the day.

It is time now that the SDL regime realise that it can not treat the tax payers funds as if it were at its personal disposal to cater for its whims. Taxpayers funds need to be prudently managed. For this, it is vital that practices of good governance and proper fiscal management become top priority.

The FLP is ready to render advise to the SDL regime and to help it steer the nation and the economy out of the economic and social chaos which the country is now embroiled in. The ball is in the Prime Minister’s court.

Ganesh Chand
Member of Parliament