Don’t believe in rumours, sugarcane farmers told
Standing Committee on Economic Affairs discusses sugar bills with public in Seaqaqa
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