Don’t be­lieve in ru­mours, sug­ar­cane farm­ers told

Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Eco­nomic Af­fairs dis­cusses sugar bills with pub­lic in Seaqaqa

Fiji Sun - - Election Countdown 2018 - SHRATIKA NAIDU shratikan@fi­jisun.com.fj Feed­back:

Ru­mours that some over­seas peo­ple were com­ing to amend the Sugar In­dus­try Master’s Award were quashed yes­ter­day by a mem­ber of the Par­lia­ment Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Eco­nomic Af­fairs and the new chair of the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee, Ash­neel Sud­hakar. “Ev­ery­one will be con­sulted and pub­lished in the news­pa­per,” Mr Sud­hakar said.

“It is writ­ten in the Bill Clause 40 Part B that copies of the re­vised Master Award and of the re­port un­der sec­tion 39 (2)(b) to be made avail­able for sup­ply. “Do not be­lieve in any ru­mours,” he said. Mr Sud­hakar was re­spond­ing to state­ments by a sug­ar­cane farmer Imam Ali dur­ing a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the re­form of the Sugar Cane In­dus­try Bill 2016 and Sugar Cane Grow­ers Fund (Amend­ment) Bill 2016 at the Seaqaqa Po­lice Sta­tion Bure out­side Labasa. Mr Ali told the com­mit­tee that there were ru­mours that Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama will make the Master Award de­spite at­tempts by the farm­ers and grow­ers sug­ges­tions dur­ing th­ese con­sul­ta­tions. “There are also some ru­mours that peo­ple from over­seas will come and amend the Master Award,” the 70-year-old said. “If you can make some changes then farm­ers should be con­sulted and it should ben­e­fit the farm­ers.” Com­mit­tee mem­ber and In­fra­struc­ture and Trans­port As­sis­tant Min­is­ter Vi­jay Nath read out to Mr Ali the Re­form of Sugar Cane In­dus­try Bill No. 19 of 2016 part five-Sugar In­dus­try Master Award Clause 36 part one, “The Min­is­ter shall have the power to make the Master Award fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tion with the Coun­cil and the Cor­po­ra­tion. “All your sub­mis­sions and sug­ges­tions will be con­sid­ered and dis­cussed be­fore the par­lia­ment,” Mr Nath said.

“With­out con­sul­ta­tion the bill can­not be passed in the Par­lia­ment.”

Farm­ers need more time to un­der­stand sugar bills Many of the sug­ar­cane farm­ers re­quested the com­mit­tee to give them more time to get fa­mil­iar with the re­form of the Sugar Cane In­dus­try Bill 2016 and Sugar Cane Grow­ers Fund (Amend­ment) Bill 2016. “There should be some kind of pro­vi­sion made to send some peo­ple to us to help us un­der­stand about this new re­form,” said Ak­tar Hus­sein of Vu­ni­vau, Seaqaqa. Mr Hussien said he had never heard about the re­form on the Sugar Cane In­dus­try Bill. Mr Sud­hakar said there had been many ar­ti­cles pub­lished in the news­pa­per and an­nounced through ra­dio about this Bill. He in­formed the farm­ers that they would look into ways to make some pro­vi­sions to help them un­der­stand the Bill. Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika

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