Rabuka Again Calls Help for People ‘Freebies’
A-G, in his Budget address, explained why it is Government’s priority to provide such services
The Social Democratic Liberal Party has criticised the assistance by Government as freebies, and in the same breath party leader Sitiveni Rabuka promised to do much better if elected into power. Speaking at the Wailevu Sikh Temple outside Labasa Town on Wednesday night, Mr Rabuka said many pledged to support the Bainimarama Government on the basis of the Government assistance, par-ticularly the free school fees, free text¬books and free Weet-Bix and milk.
Mr Rabuka said the assistance from the FijiFirst Government to Fijians would make the 2018 general election a tough battle for his party. “Many people are happy with the freebies and Government assistance. When we win the elections what we will do is to better these services. The free Government grant, we can do it better,” he said.
“A SODELPA Government will remove the student loan scheme and replace it with a scholarship scheme. “Children cannot pay for loans and the high cost of living. For those of you, who have raised their concerns on taxi services, this can only change when you vote and it is valid.
“We will also consult the people before making laws.
“We cannot complain if we do not vote. We must all register to vote, make sure everyone in our household is registered to vote and to ensure they are registered to the right polling venue.
“The only time to do this is now, before the Writ of Election is issued. “There will be no more registration or changes to address and polling venue once the writ is issued by the President,” he said.
A-G on budget
But Government has time and again given valid reasons why it is essential for services like education and other assistance are provided.
It was well explained during the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s 2018-2019 National Budget address on June 28. “…every mother and father in Fiji wants to know that their child will grow up in a better society, with more opportunities than they knew themselves,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“That starts with education. Before this Government, many families were left heartbroken, some were unable to send their children to school at all. “Those days ended the moment this Government introduced free education, free textbooks and subsidised transportation to school.
“And the education revolution, Madam Speaker, started by this Government, is alive and well, with another historic allocation in this year’s budget.”
Government allocated $1.025 billion towards education in this financial period.
Mr Rabuka went on saying: “The purpose of my visit to the Northern Division was to show my support towards the four provisional candidates. “Nilesh Jaduram, Ezekiel Sharma, Nemani Bulitavu and Ratu Tevita Niumataiwalu are the four candidates from the Northern Division. We have a diverse team, we are united in diversity,” he said.
SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka with provisional candidate Ezekiel Sharma in February 2018.