In the last 10 years, the Fiji Sugar Corporation accumulatively lost over $550 million of taxpayers’ money to keep afloat the insolvent business while at the same time short-changing farmers.
This was highlighted by Minister for Sugar, Charan Jeath Singh in a media conference today which he labels as the biggest heist in Fiji’s history by the previous Government and former executives of the Fiji Sugar Corporation.
Singh said if the allocated money over the 10 years went to specifically the works and mechanics of the Fiji Sugar Corporation, the efficiency of the company would have been up to par.
He said an example is three equipments and boiler purchased for the Labasa Mill is not working and sitting idly and to get it working another $10 million needs to be coughed up for repairs and parts to get it functioning.
“This is the fault of the previous government who choose not to see the rot festering within FSC under the leadership of the former Prime Minister, who was the Minister Responsible for Sugar.”
The Minister also confirmed that those implicated in this bad deals and misuse of taxpayer monies will be taken to task.
“If things had gone wrong under his leadership, Voreqe Bainimarama should be taken to task.”
Singh said his Ministry is seeking legal opinion from the the Solicitor-General on its next cause of action and the FSC board under the leadership of CEO Bhan Pratap Singh is trying to get to the bottom of things.
He said FSC is hovering around 1.6 tonnes of cane productions annually and hopes to increase production to 3.5 tonnes in two years’ time and added that farmers should expect good news in the next couple of days, as the Government hopes to make an announcement in the price of cane per tonne from $85.
“The Prime Minister is expected to make this announcement in the next coming days, let’s wait on him on this.”
In the current financial year, the Ministry of Sugar has been allocated $50 million to revive the industry.