Infrastructure planning critically assessed

March 22, 2024 7:00 am

[File Photo]

Infrastructure Minister Ro Filipe Tuisawau has highlighted challenges faced by the Fiji Roads Authority citing financial difficulties and improper procedures.

He emphasized the need for funds to pay contractors and maintain roads alongside governance issues revealed by audits including significant amounts approved without proper procedures.

Regarding FijiFirst infrastructure projects, Ro Filipe questioned their adherence to governance and financial management procedures mentioning an audit forwarded to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.

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Critically assessing infrastructure planning, the Minister expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of strategic projects.

He raised concerns about the disappearance of equipment worth millions of dollars from the Public Works Department and the neglect of government facilities and rural roads.

“There were issues regarding the road so basically FRA was bankrupt so I don’t know what they were talking about. We had to look for funds to pay the contractors and also to start maintaining the roads.”

Ro Filipe highlighted the need for all roads to be part of government services and emphasized efforts to address neglected rural roads and bridges.

He criticized the allocation of funds for projects such as the Queen Elizabeth Drive questioning their cost-effectiveness.

Acknowledging past developments, Ro Filipe stressed the importance of cost-effective infrastructure projects and good governance moving forward.

He also notes ongoing efforts to prioritize and budget for national infrastructure plans.

In response to Opposition criticisms, the Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to state-building and addressing infrastructure challenges.