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Economy has negligible breathing space: MP


Jun 27, 2022 05:08:31 PM

Economy has negligible breathing space: MP National Federation Party vice president Lenora Qereqeretabua says the Fijian economy with very little private sector investment has negligible breathing space to cushion the impacts of external shocks.

Responding to Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s comment that just because “children are scavenging for scrap metal in dump sites or selling food outside supermarkets does not necessarily mean that there is a spike in the levels of poverty in Fiji”, Qereqeretabua said this is not only deeply hurtful and highly insensitive but also extremely arrogant.

 “How can we expect a minister sitting on a salary of nearly $200,000 and travelling in a dark-tinted Prado to understand the daily struggles of the Fijian people?”,” she said in a statement.

“It shows this Government’s total lack of empathy and compassion towards the people.”

Qereqeretabua said they have met so many families who are surviving on little to no income and are struggling to provide three meals a day while also being priced out by an expensive rental market.

She said they have also met young graduates who don’t have a job and elderly people who cannot afford to survive on what little retirement pensions or the monthly social welfare payments they have.

“All of these are precipitated by an economy that was grinding to a halt even before the pandemic.”

“This has been made worse by a Government that just cannot accept the fact that they have failed to transform Fiji into a sustainable economy fuelled by private investment instead of billions of dollars in loans that burden the taxpayer and plunges the economy deeper into debt.”

"Sayed-Khaiyum should reflect on his colossal failures as Minister of the Economy instead of making highly insensitive remarks like this,” she went on to say.

By Reginald Chandar


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