Tikoduadua’s motion a waste of time and money: PM
May 17, 2019 5:13 pm
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama [left] and Opposition MP Pio Tikoduadua
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has labeled the motion raised by Opposition MP Pio Tikoduadua as a waste of money and time.
Tikoduadua moved a motion in parliament to establish a bi-partisan committee to collectively find solutions to revive the Sugar Industry.
He says sugarcane production, sugar production and the number of active growers have been declining steadily over the last 12 years adding that this paints a sorry picture.
He says in 2006, the industry had 18,636 active cane growers and 3.226million tonnes of sugar were produced from which 310,140 tonnes of sugar were produced at a TCTS of 10.4.
However, last year, the industry had 12000 active growers where they produced 1.696million tonnes of sugar cane from which 160, 204 sugar were produced at a TCTS of 10.59.
He questioned the government what happened in the last 13 years claiming that despite millions of dollars being pumped into the industry, nothing seems to be working.
“The motion says a bi-partisan select committee this is so that we can collectively find solutions in an environment conducive to discussing issues of national importance.”
Tikoduadua adds the number of active growers declined by more than 6,600, Sugarcane production fell by 1.595million tonnes and sugar production fell by 149,936 tonnes.
The Opposition MP claimed the motion will develop the industry, however, his motion was defeated by majority votes.
The Prime Minister in response strongly opposed the idea.
“There is absolutely no need to establish a bi-partisan select committee on sugar to find solutions to revive the Sugar Industry.”
He says this is unnecessary and will only duplicate work and processes that are already established.
Bainimarama adds the government has done a lot to revive the industry and they will continue to do so as a quarter of Fiji’s population depends on it.
“This government is committed to making the Fiji Sugar Industry more efficient and not bogging it down with more bureaucracy and I, therefore, do not support the motion.”
The Prime Minister also lashed out at NFP for their continuous yapping of the Sugar Industry.
“NFP wants to tell the world that the Sugar Industry is failing when in fact NFP is failing.”
Bainimarama says there are policies in place to ensure the industry grows in a sustainable manner.
The Prime Minister also reiterated that a number of new policies have already been developed following consultations with growers.
This has led to a significant increase in budget for the sugar industry from $26m in 2016/2017 to $60m in 2017/2018 financial year.