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Bula Boom is another bad joke: Prasad

 

Jul 26, 2022 09:31:09 AM

National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad has labelled the ‘Bula Boom’ as another bad joke of the Government.
 
Professor Prasad while contributing to the debate on the 2022-23 National Budget in Parliament yesterday, said the Government boasted about the Bainimarama Boom which became a joke and now the Bula Boom is Government’s another bad joke.
 
“The Honourable Minister boasted in this house three years ago about the Bainimarama boom and the word boom became a national joke.”
 
“Now he's talking about the Bula boom but this is just another bad joke.”
 
“The Honourable Minister talks about the record-breaking economic growth of 12.4%. But he has forgotten that under his Government, another record was broken regardless of whether we attributed it to the pandemic or any other thing.”
 
“In 2020, the economy went backwards by 17.2%. That was the record when you say 12.4% is a record. That was a record, talk about that.”
 
“Then he went backwards by 4% in 2021.”
 
“But let us not forget that long before the virus the economy was already going backwards. It contracted by 0.4% in 2019.”
 
He said the huge debt that Fiji has is the reality of the Fiji First Government's so-called Bainimarama and Bula Boom.
 
“That is the effect. So the economy is only three quarters of its previous size.”
 
“It is that smaller economy that is growing by small percent so you're bragging about that this is the unprecedented record growth in the history of Fiji.”
 
“So the real boom is in Government debt as of April 2022, whereby $8.3 billion in debt, there is another 1.1 billion in Government guarantees. “
 
“These are the government's own figures. We know the Government will eventually have to pay this amount for companies such as Fiji Airways, Fiji Sugar Corporation, and that takes us to about $9.4 billion in total.”
 
“And this deficit of almost $800 million will take us over $10 billion in debt before the end of this year including Government guarantees, that is when Government debt level will be $10 billion.
 
“It is it is absolutely not honest to talk about record breaking growth. It is not on us to talk about a Bula Boom.”
 
“In fact, it is insulting to talk about these things when 1000s of Fijian families are struggling to make ends meet.”
 
“Let's talk about inflation and food prices. What is the government solution? Throw around $60 million on a mitigation package and how will they deliver it through an online app? But we know that the poorest people in Fiji are not necessarily online. I know they do not have access to a lot of these things they talk about."
 
He further questioned the Government why the minimum wage rate was kept low for so low and the Government did a sudden increase. 
 
"For example, if there was a Bainimarama boom as they claim, why was the minimum wage kept low for so long?"
 
"$2.32 $2.68 We talked about minimum living wage in 2017 and 2018."
 
"And then suddenly, it was increased ahead of the election."
 
By Romeka Romena  

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