Mini Budget 2022

Speaker rules on budget opposition

March 24, 2022 9:01 pm

Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau [Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji]

Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has reminded parliamentarians that when his office makes a decision, it is guided by the Standing Orders, relevant laws, previous rulings and the Constitution.

Ratu Epeli was responding to issues raised by National Federation Party President Pio Tikodudua where he questioned a unanimous decision of the Business Committee to defer the scheduled 7 to 11 March parliament sitting.

The Speaker says his office considers all requests and submissions from all parties in Parliament and individual members with the utmost respect and undertakes due diligence before a decision is taken.

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Ratu Epeli says the Speaker’s office also takes a holistic approach and considers whether an urgent matter brought before Parliament serves the national interest.

“It would be unbecoming of an honorable member to question the integrity and the virtues of how each parliament meeting or sitting is facilitated. The diligence facilitation of the parliament sittings is duly undertaken to enable the honorable members of parliament to undertake their legislative representative and oversight mandates.”

He told members of Parliament that they are well aware that the Fijian economy is in the recovery stages from the effects of the pandemic and the members of the August institution should ensure the welfare of all Fijians remain paramount.

Ratu Epeli says the Government did inform the House and all members of Parliament present and the nation on 16th July 2021, through the Honourable Minister for Economy’s 2021/2022 Budget address that the budget will be reviewed after six months.

He says a flying minute pertaining to the revised budget sittings and deferral of the March sitting to April was communicated to the Business Committee, which comprises four members from the government, two members from the Social Democratic Liberal Party and two members from the NFP.

Ratu Epeli says the Business Committee had three days to peruse its contents and provide comments.

He adds no objections were received, and following that, the final order papers were circulated to all honourable members.

He further stated that there has been no subversion of parliamentary democracy, nor an ambush of parliamentary processes.

He says it is already past six months in this financial year and all members should have anticipated this.

He says he saw no reason why he should not consider the government’s proposal for a sitting to review the 2021/22 budget.