Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad revealed in Parliament yesterday that a staggering $74 million was spent by the FijiFirst Government on domestic and overseas travel between 2014 and 2022.
In his contribution to the motion by the Prime Minister to reduce the Overseas Travel Allowance for Members of Parliament, Prof Prasad said the Prime Minister has been blamed for benefitting from the exorbitant travel allowance.
He said this is only justified looking at the previous Government’s travel budget for the former Prime Minister.
“In the 2016-2017 Budget, a sum of $1.5 million was allocated for overseas travel for the former Prime Minister. Similarly, $1.5 million was allocated in the 2017 -2018 budget, and the 2018-2019 Budget also had an allocation of $1.5 million.”
“So for three years, a total of $4.5 million was allocated. Of course records will show whether the entire allocation was used or not, but we all know that the former Prime Minister made several overseas trips every year, even to events or conferences that could have been easily handled by permanent secretaries or line ministers,” Pro Prasad said.
He added that the Coalition Government is putting an end to this type of extravagance.