AG criticizes Gavoka’s free education comment

December 2, 2021 4:35 pm

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka.

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says SODELPA’s proposal to waive TELS debt will mean the government will write off $600m.

Sayed-Khaiyum was responding to a comment made by SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka who says a SODELPA Government will make free tertiary education a reality.

Sayed-Khaiyum says Gavoka on one hand is complaining about debt, yet wants to offer free tertiary education.

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He says if this happens, they will also incur a further $200m every year to fund tertiary students.

The Minister for Economy says if VAT is also removed Government will lose $700m in revenue a year.

Sayed-Khaiyum says there seems to be a gap in the promises made by SODELPA as they have not mentioned how it will compensate for the loss.

“So if they are going to do this, does that mean they will increase personal income tax, does that mean they will increase company tax, what will they do? Will they impose some other tax? Will they bring in STT? Will they increase ECAL, no word on that, intellectual gap, intellectual void Mr Speaker Sir.”

The Minister also clarified if the government is financially mismanaging as claimed by the Opposition it would not have received any support from partner countries.

Sayed-Khaiyum says if the government is borrowing to build now, the future generation will not have to borrow to build later.

“If we are undergrounding the cable now from Nadi to Matintar, they don’t have to put the cable underground, if we are building a four-lane road which will cost far less than building in 20-years’ time, we are saving money.”

The Attorney General also confronted Gavoka telling him that SODELPA has demonstrated its ineptitude and inability to run a government.

He says SODELPA is disintegrated and this is proven by all events that transpired last week within the party.

He says Gavoka’s colleagues have slammed him from all angles.

Sayed-Khaiyum says he is not interested in the affairs of SODELPA however, he only wants this known that SODELPA cannot run a government as they cannot even govern themselves in the Opposition.