Seruiratu moves motion, Opposition opposes
March 26, 2020 8:15 pm
Leader of Government in Parliament, Inia Seruiratu [left] and Pio Tikoduadua
Leader of Government in Parliament, Inia Seruiratu has moved a motion in Parliament to have the tabling and debating of the Supplementary COVID-19 budget, tonight and tomorrow.
Seruiratu says there was an urgent need to have the budget put to Parliament and also discussed and passed and in the process moved for the suspension of certain orders.
This includes the times for speakers including Opposition to be changed.
However, National Federation Party’s, Pio Tikoduadua, objected to this saying, this was not something Opposition agreed upon.
He says suspension of certain standing orders will limit the rights of some MPs and also claimed this was unlawful
Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, in his ruling says there was an urgency to have the debate on the budget straight away.
He says this was within the powers of the speaker and he has exercised this.
SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula also objected to the suspension of certain standing orders and also says there was a need for supplementary estimates and the debate should happen with notice.
He says they do not want to debate this tomorrow but follow the six-day period that is usually in place.
Health Minister, Doctor Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete also taking offence at Nawaikula saying he did not take any action.
He says the whole world was fighting COVID-19 and there was an urgent need to have the budget passed to have the people of Fiji get supplies to the people, also saying he is disappointed with the Opposition.
National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad says he had suggested ways to save time and get the budget passed, and in his letter to the Prime Minister had offered their support but did not receive any response.
Prasad says the impact of COVID-19 is a double tragedy claiming the economy was already in a bad state and wanted to have a discussion before coming to Parliament so they could support any fast-tracking and hence they do not support any suspension motion.
SODELPA MP, Mosese Bulitavu, calling on the Speaker, to exercise his powers to fix a time and date for the debate. He also asked the Speaker to make a ruling rather than putting it to vote.