A National Pledge? PM's Lau Tour, IMF & Public Spending, FNPF Owed $8m, Suspect Hardware Pricing

MY PJR PAPER ON FIJI BLOGS.  For those of you unable to access the link supplied, click on the Pacific Journalism Review front page in the left column, and then scroll down to the hyperlink for the article.  While you're there, look at the other articles in this and other issues and consider taking out  a subscription.
(+) PM'S PROVINCIAL TOURS CONTINUE: LAU.  The PM visited Moala on Tuesday and has travelled on to Totoya and Ono islands. His message is familiar. Peace and stability is dependent on the removal of racism in politics. Fiji's land and other resources must be released to grow the economy and speed development. He mentioned the potential for tourism in the island.  His traditional welcome was also familiar. Chiefs and yavusa heads admitted they hadn't support the People’s Charter in the past but pledged their support to the PM's leadership and direction he is now taking the country.

(+) FOLLOW UP ON GAU VISIT. Following the PM's visit to Gau, Government has supplied the islanders with water tanks and chainsaws, as promised.

  This was found to be high relative to comparator countries due to higher wages and the numbers employed. The central government wage bill exceeds 10% of GDP but the share total of spending on wages and salaries is nearly 40%. But Government's corporatisation plan to reduce these numbers merely shifts the figures into another category. What has changed? The Pacific Islands have always had large public sectors relative to "developed" countries but this is not necessary a "bad" thing.

(+) THE FIJI NATIONAL PROVIDENT FUND IS OWED $7.65million by over one hundred employers for outstanding contributions. If they have not paid up in ten days time, they will be prevented from leaving the country until they have done so.  Defaulting employers have broken the law, as the contribitions have already been deducted from workers' wages and income, but have yet to be handed over.

HARDWARE PRICES ROCKET. A Consumer Council survey has found hardware price increases of up to 57% in the first quarter of this year and has called on consumers to assist the Commerce Commission’s investigation.

(-) FIJI LIVE'S LATEST 'POLITICAL'POLL asks "Can Fiji achieve a 4.2 percent unemployment rate by 2012?" Votes so far: Yes 33%; No 67%.


Son of Fiji said…
Sorry Croz, but a large public sector is a bad thing. The only thing that is guaranteed, throughout history by having a large civil service, is a bloody big bill for the taxpayer. They're usually better paid, usually inefficient, usually lazy, usually self-serving, and usually easily corrupted.
Lines in the Lauan sand said…
Croz, there's something deeply disturbing about the attached article from today's Fiji Sun about the PM's tour of Lau. It's all very well for government to ban Methodist Church gatherings like the annual conference in the the interests of public order. But the regime has no moral or legal right whatsoever to forcibly remove office bearers of the church, as Bainimarama is now threatening, if the church doesn't do so itself. There's a distinct element of megalomania creeping into the PM's public utterances. And many of us who initially supported him are starting to have serious second thoughts. We don't like Manasa Lasaro or Tomasi Kanailagi any more than Frank does. But it's not the regime's place to barge into the church at gunpoint, like it did to the country, to execute some kind of administrative purge. Even raising this possibility is deeply irresponsible on the PM's part. He seems to want to inflame tensions at the very time that the rest of the country craves stability so we can get the economy back on its feet. The Methodist Church and its fellow churches in Australia, NZ and the UK would have every reason to cry religious persecution were this cockamamy notion to proceed. And people like me will be lost to the cause forever.
Government will remove Methodist church ministers who are involved in politics if the church does not, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said yesterday.

Speaking to villagers at Nukuni, on Ono-I-Lau, Commodore Bainimarama said the church could resolve its own problems.

However, “if it was God’s will then Government will intervene”.

He had advised the Methodist Church to resolve the politics in its ranks problem.

He stressed for the time being they had left the church to handle the matter in its own way. He said they would n remove church ministers who ministers who had political agendas. The church and State came to loggerheads after several church ministers were accused of imposing their political beliefs on their members.

As a result Government, announced that there would be no annual conference for the Methodist Church in Fiji until 2014, when elections will be held in the country.

Speaking to the villagers, Commodore Bainimarama said the church could solve its own problems, however, if it was God’s will “then Government will intervene”.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Lines ... I can't see that the PM said anything he hasn't said already, but if he did, don't you think we should be asking how a Christian church can allow its ministers to embrace racism, and why the Church has not found some way of persuading the two offending ministers to resign. I've been on the receiving end of Kanailagi's venom and thought his behaviour unseemly for a man of God. Bainimarama signaled an intention. This was not an ultimatum, but I do hope the Church will act soon.
A bridge too far said…
Croz, you really need to have a good look at yourself on this one. How you can possibly justify this course of action means that your moral compass has become seriously skewed. Whatever the sins of members of the Methodist Church - and they are legion - nothing justifies a government threatening to impose its will on any church in a direct sense like this. It's tantamount to advocating that governments around the world should unilaterally remove individual priests from Roman Catholic parishes because the Vatican has been less than diligent in dealing with child abuse. Now that you've decided to exercise your ability to screen comments like this, I half expect not to ever see this on your site. But believe me, on this issue you've totally crossed the line and will pay a very high price in the estimation of your readers. Shame, Croz, shame.
Croz Walsh said…
@ A Bridge... You'll see I've taken note of your comment and made the issue a Na Sala Cava question, giving it wider coverage.

I would prefer not to screen comments, as you must know. No comment will ever be blocked on this site because of reasonably argued differences.
CICERO said…
Well, the simple way out of this wriggling and squiggling over personalities and institutions is the Milton Friedman/Thatcherite argument about "Who Pays Governments"? Taxpayers pay governments. No government anywhere is funded but by taxpayers' money. Even if they take loans, taxpayers must fund the repayments with interest (and some!). So, taxpayers hold governments to account. It is their interest which must be served FIRST. Investors take note. If the interest of taxpayers is not being served.........then what?

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