Rabuka on suspension of orders

Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka during a press conference. Picture: FILE

GOVERNMENT should not seek to make Parliament a rubber stamp by defeating the rules of Parliament, says Leader of Opposition Sitiveni Rabuka.

Referring to the Standing Orders that were suspended to allow for a three-hour debate on the COVID-19 response budget, he said the process was a “sham” and a disservice to the nation.

He said it was disingenuous of Government to cry urgency to justify the railroading of parliamentary processes.

“The legislature must perform its function rather than be railroaded into rubber-stamping the proposal from the executive,” he said.

Mr Rabuka said it was time for the august House and the people of Fiji to be told the truth and the reality on the ground. He said it was unfortunate that the FijiFirst Government was misleading and deceiving the people of Fiji with lies and manipulation of figures, particularly this budget.

“Prior to the unfortunate spread of coronavirus, which became public knowledge in early 2020 when it started in Wuhan in China, we already knew the Fiji economy was in crisis.” Mr Rabuka said the Minister for Economy continued to provide yet another grandstanding lecture on the COVID-19, boasting about what the FijiFirst Government was going to do to address the pandemic.

He said it was worth nothing that the direct budget funding support of $100m for COVID-19 was placed under RIE (requisition to incur expenditure)in Head 50.

“Funds placed under RIE clearly suggest that they are priority activities but the release of funds will be at the discretion of the Minister for Economy. One wonders why these funds are placed under RIE when the Government claim that the budget must be approved now to meet the need of our people.”

Mr Rabuka said he also noted that an increase of $1.7 million had been allocated to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces for purchase of goods and services.

He said there was no direct relationship between the response to COVID-19 and the increase in allocation for purchase of warlike stores.

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