Opposition Member of Parliament, Ketan Lal says young people of Fiji do not want uncertainty and need a Government that provides a clear vision for their future, including plans for their families and children.
Lal in a statement released by the FijiFirst Parliamentary chambers claims the actions of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Professor Biman Prasad have created an atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion.
He said Prof Prasad is all talk but no action and lacks any commitment to fulfill the promises made to the youth.
“The previous Government always foresaw the needs of young students and their future, demonstrating its commitment to the youth of Fiji.”
“During the FijiFirst Government, students were given the opportunity to have 50% of their loan forgiven if they paid back the remaining 50% within three years.”
“The current Government, however, has failed to provide clarity on the bond arrangements schemes they are associating with the TEL Scholarships, placing a greater burden on students.”
“If students fail to fulfil their bond, they will be required to repay the full amount. The Former FijiFirst Government always focused on supporting the young population, allowing them to become beacons of success for their families.”
“While this confused coalition government is just making empty promises that the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) debt will be removed, it is disheartening to see the government imposing another burden on students through bond arrangements.”
“FijiFirst Government always prioritized consultations with young students and citizens of Fiji, ensuring that no one was left behind, from university-based consultations to engaging with the most vulnerable in our society, such as farmers and the underprivileged.”
He said what is truly concerning is the Minister’s reluctance to consult with the young students and youths of Fiji.
“It is evident that he and his puppets in the chaotic government are caught up in their own web of lies. The Government never sought the opinions or input of students when devising these bond arrangements.”
“Instead, they only approached them when they needed votes before the election, making grand promises that are now being conveniently changed without consulting the students. It appears that the government is holding the future of young people at ransom.”
“Neither the Minister for Finance nor his Government has the authority to decide what future/programme a student should enrol in.”
“Students should have the freedom and this is why this Finance Minister must consult the young students or is the Minister afraid to face the fearless young population of Fiji. The Minister’s incompetence has shattered the dreams of the future leaders of Fiji.”
“The coalition Government has shown time and again that they do not care about the aspirations and well-being of young people.”
“They prioritize other agendas, such as GCC, cabinet positions, political candidates to board positions, and irrelevant celebrations, while neglecting the needs of the youth. Their actions only serve to burden young people and their poor families even further.”
“The lack of information about the new scholarship criteria is deeply troubling. The semester break is already underway, and the next semester will begin soon. Students and their families need to know when the new scholarships will be implemented and what the requirements are.”
“Additionally, there are concerns about the Government’s commitment to funding accommodation allowances, food allowances, bus fares, and other incidental expenses. Will these essential support systems be continued, or will they be disregarded, further exacerbating the challenges faced by students?”
“I question the objective and purpose of the Multi-Ethnic scholarships and request an update from the Minister for Finance and Minister for Multi-Ethnic Affairs.”
“There has been silence on this matter, and it is crucial to understand the focus and progress being made. The youth of Fiji deserve transparency and accountability from their Government.”
He further claimed that it is evident that the Minister for Finance and his Government have failed the youth of Fiji and their inability to provide a clear vision, consult with the students, and address their concerns has caused disillusionment and disappointment.