Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad today demanded evidence from Opposition Member of Parliament, Praveen Bala after it was raised during the 2023-24 National Budget debate that the Coalition Government had promised sugarcane farmers a payment of $110 per tonne.
Bala had also stated the budget does not do anything for the sugarcane farmers.
“The honourable member is lying,” Professor Prasad erupted.
“I want him to produce the evidence in this Parliament to prove that I said $110 where and when because that’s a complete lie. That shows who is a liar.”
“He is lying and misleading not only the Parliament but the people of Fiji.”
“I want him to produce the evidence or withdraw that statement.”
Bala continued to question Professor Prasad and the Minister for Sugar Industry Charan Jeath Singh when will the Rarawai mill in Ba and Penang mill in Rakiraki start its proper functioning.
“People in the cane belt are still asking what happened to the promise of $110 per tonne by the Finance Minister Biman Prasad.”
“I come from a cane belt area and it was he and his candidates during the campaign who said they will give $110 to the farmers.”
“The Government is silent on the suffering of the sugarcane farmers. The cane access road has not been maintained as there is little to no budget.”
“The Ba sugar mill has had a continued breakdown but the sugar minister is saying all is well. It’s not all well for the poor cane truck drivers who sleep in their trucks hoping to deliver their loads. I am convinced that this industry will collapse under this minister.”
“Where is the allocation for the Penang mill? Nothing mentioned at all. So who is telling lies now?” he further questioned.