Infrastructure neglect shows costly consequences

March 29, 2024 7:56 am

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad agrees that the impact of damage to a water main in Wailoku on national productivity is profound.

He says workers unable to fulfil their duties and children compelled to remain at home for a second consecutive day.

Since yesterday, hundreds of children in the Suva area have been unable to attend school, while it is believed that some members of the working population also opted for absenteeism.

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The Deputy Prime Minister concur with FBC News, acknowledging that such events significantly affect national productivity, which is a consequence of inadequate investment in critical infrastructure in the past.

Prasad says several years of neglect of infrastructure is now being exposed, impacting various segments of the economy.

“You know if you look at the investment that we made in these infrastructure, you know the lack of it is now showing up. Any government could not have neglected, unfortunately it was neglected.”

The Deputy Prime Minister acknowledges that the current challenge lies in bringing these infrastructures up to standard, but it comes with a cost.

“What we are trying to do now is to catch up and given the extreme weather pattern, extreme rainfall, flooding and the damaged this is doing to the infrastructures and especially old infrastructures, it is going to cost the government significant amounts of money.”

Meanwhile, United Nations Reident Coordinator Dirk Wagener says the convening of Fiji’s development partners yesterday signals their commitment to assisting Fiji in achieving various sustainable development goals, including the establishment of a robust infrastructure.

“Maybe we want to stop doing business as usual, we want to rally together, we want to be better coordinated we want to better harmonize our support to government’s priorities to make a significant change and provide that support and the assistance needed also following the modalities which are requested and required by governments to actually make a change and make a real push forward to achieve those sustainable development goals.”

The Deputy Prime Minister has affirmed that investment in water infrastructure will be among the top priorities in the next budget.

Prasad further indicates that he has proposed to Fiji’s development partners the establishment of a working group on climate finance to address the development of climate-resilient infrastructure.