Waqavonovono’s sug­ary in­put

Fiji Sun - - Comment -

Tukai Lag­o­ni­lakeba,

Nadi

I read with in­ter­est Pita Waqavonovono’s sub­mis­sions on be­half of SODELPA on the re­form of the Sugar Cane In­dus­try Bill 2016 be­fore the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Eco­nomic Af­fairs in Par­lia­ment. As re­ported in the FS 24/05/16 Page 5 ti­tled: “SODELPA says Sugar In­dus­try at Cross­roads”, he is on record for rightly al­lud­ing to the prob­lems faced by our su­gar­cane in­dus­try which in­cludes the non­re­newal of su­gar­cane land leases to­gether with its milling and trans­porta­tion prob­lems.

Pita has fallen short of ad­mit­ting to the fact that it was his very own Ro Tei­mumu Kepa led SODELPA to­gether with for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Laise­nia Qarase who led SDL Party in­clud­ing the Si­tiveni Rabuka Gov­ern­ment com­bined with their ul­tra-na­tion­al­ist stand and their non-in­clu­sive dis­crim­i­nat­ing poli­cies, were all in­volved in the down­fall of our sugar in­dus­try. It caused un­due strain on our econ­omy and to those di­rectly in­volved in it in­clud­ing the nec­es­sary stop-leak plug re­form poli­cies put in place by the Fi­jiFirst Gov­ern­ment. His con­tri­bu­tion is noth­ing new but a child­ish ill-con­ceived cheap po­lit­i­cal stunt to jus­tify what the ma­jor­ity of Fi­jians and cane farm­ers through­out Fiji al­ready know. But for those of us who re­ally do come from a su­gar­cane farming back­ground, we know where the prob­lem lies.

Please Pita, don’t talk about the su­gar­cane in­dus­try when you know ab­so­lutely noth­ing about its plant­ing, har­vest­ing and milling to­gether with its un­war­ranted deep rooted dis­crim­i­nat­ing pol­i­tics.

In the na­tional in­ter­est, the only so­lu­tion is for Gov­ern­ment to re­main the owner 100 per cent. With this, it can pro­tect, max­imise and en­sure its long term vi­a­bil­ity rel­e­vant to our coun­try’s econ­omy in­clud­ing all its front­line stake­hold­ers. The FSC should not be a play­thing and can­not be al­lowed to be owned by a par­tic­u­lar or­gan­i­sa­tion be it a union, an as­so­ci­a­tion or a po­lit­i­cal party. It must be­long to Gov­ern­ment ir­re­spec­tive of which one comes into power be­cause the sugar in­dus­try is about our coun­try’s in­ter­ests and its liveli­hood. It sim­ply can­not be left to ruin in the wrong hands.

Labasa was lucky that Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston did not come our way. But the big­gest dam­age to hit Labasa is that grog price went from $40 per kilo­gramme (kg) to $70/kg. Could the Con­sumer Coun­cil of Fiji chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Premila Ku­mar or the new me­di­a­tion cen­tre look into this price hike and nor­malise the sit­u­a­tion in the North­ern Divi­sion?

main­te­nance job first be­fore jump­ing onto the next. I would also like to sug­gest to Gov­ern­ment to do a monthly billing be­cause the three-month billing is too much. Gov­ern­ment should have a de­bate on this in Par­lia­ment. iTaukei

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