Budget 2024-25

Finance Minister clarifies grant process

July 11, 2024 4:37 pm

Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad clarified that grants to all tertiary institutions are disbursed only after thorough assessments of their budget submissions.

His comments follow concerns raised by Independent Member of Parliament Hem Chand regarding the need for reassessment of grants to Higher Education Institutions, especially Pacific Polytech.

Prasad emphasized that the submissions are not made directly to his Ministry but to the Ministry of Education and the Higher Education Commission and after thorough analysis by these bodies, the proposals are forwarded to his office.

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The Finance minister says Pacific Polytech had requested for $9 million in the new fiscal year, however, this was reduced to five million dollars.

Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad [Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji/Facebook]

According to Higher Education Commission of Fiji, the higher education institutions apply for government grants yearly by submitting their Costed Operating Plans which should align with their approved Annual Operating and Strategic Plan.

“Honorable Hem Chand he was in the Ministry of Education, he knows the process, all Higher Education Institutions are registered and approved by an independent Higher Education Institutions, they registered the Pacific Polytech in 2021 and Mr Speaker and they are doing a good job by replacing the defunct technical colleges that they set up and they wasted $30 million , went down the drain.”

Hem Chand [Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji/Facebook]

Prasad says Chand should have visited Polytech to get more information when he had a chance to do so.

Chand says he did not attend the presentation done by Pacific Polytech as he was busy preparing budget response.

In the 2024/2025 national budget the tertiary institutions have been allocated $91 million and of this University of the South Pacific has been allocated $33.5 million as normal grant, along with an additional $5 million to cover outstanding grants.

The Fiji National University has been allocated a grant of $36.5 million, University of Fiji has been allocated an increased grant of $5 million while Pacific Polytech’ will receive $5 million.