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New Govt to address failures: Chaudhry

 

Jun 30, 2022 02:01:30 PM

New Govt to address failures: Chaudhry Fiji Labour Party Leader and former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry says an incoming administration after the 2022 General Election would have to address economic failures of the FijiFirst Government.

Chaudhry in a statement said Fijians are in a desperate state as cost of living has sky-rocketed and poverty is on the rise with graduates not getting jobs while decent and affordable housing is scarce.

He said health is declining, personal debt levels are unprecedented, crime has escalated and most alarmingly, more people are attempting to take their own lives.

“Finding solutions to these problems will be the blueprint to an economic recovery. To make Fiji cheap for investors, FijiFirst offered tax breaks and suppressed wages,” he said.

“But investment was directed predominately to the services sector while the local, grassroots economy especially the agriculture sector was neglected.

“Disregard for agriculture has increased rural poverty and migration to urban squatter settlements. It has also threatened food security.

 “More people are increasingly priced out and deprived of healthy food. Backyard farming was not a solution to food security. It is a result of a neglected agricultural sector,” he said.

He said poverty exists when there is a lack of monetary means to access one’s basic needs.

“In Fiji, this is due to an over reliance on the formal economy where cost of living has increased dramatically,” he said.

“Ties to the traditional economy would normally provide basic needs through access to land, subsistence farming and supportive social networks. However, these ties are being stretched.

 “Firstly, in 2009 they devalued the dollar then in 2012, they lowered interest rates to allow banks to lend more money, which alongside Government spending, also financed through debt.

“While money supply increased, the level of domestic goods and services did not increase accordingly. The result was asset and consumer price inflation,” he said.

He went on to say that the FijiFirst Government suppressed wages to allow local firms to remain competitive.

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka

 

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