National Development crucial: Prasad

February 20, 2024 12:44 pm

Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad [Source: Fiji Government/ Facebook]

With nationwide public consultation on the new 3-year, 5-year, and 20-year National Development Plan underway, Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad stresses that this will help them prioritize what they do in a given time period.

Teams from the Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development, and Statistics have been travelling around the country to gather the views and feedback of the people on the development objectives, strategies, and programs outlined in the draft plan.

Head of Strategic Planning Office Kamal Gounder says critical issues such as water access, rural electrification, improved network connectivity, proper roads, and expanded health services have been highlighted by Fijians as consultations continue.

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Finance Minister Biman Prasad says while a national development plan is very important, people’s views are also important.

He says they are seeking the views and input of Fijians on the development priorities for the next 3 years, 5 years, and 20 years.

“This is a fantastic opportunity that the government has provided to all our people in all different areas and sectors because your input, your views, your suggestions, and your take on priorities are going to be very important. And that’s why we want all our people to participate in this as a government. We don’t pretend that everything will be done tomorrow, but we have shown in one year that we understand people’s priorities and what is needed.”

Prasad stresses that they may not have been able to do everything in one year, but they are trying to manage.

“No government can do anything in one year, particularly what we inherited in terms of the state of our infrastructure, our fiscal position, and our debt level. So we have to navigate and manage this. But I want to say to the people that we will need a little bit of patience. But certainly, a lot of things have happened in a year, and people are now free. People have the choice to criticize government or to talk to us, and we can see that there is a lot more confidence and trust in government as a result of that freedom. And we really feel very good about it as a government, and we want to keep it that way.”

Prasad says they have consulted all the ministries, different institutions, the president’s office, the military, the police, and non-government organizations.

He says they are now going to the ordinary people in the rural areas, in towns and cities, to make sure that their views are heard, as they also have a lot of wisdom and knowledge.