When is a Fact, Fact?
SODELPA former general secretary and now a possible candidate who will be standing under the main Opposition party banner, Pio Tabaiwalu, has taken to Facebook to gloss over what the average growth rate of Fiji was under all previous administrations. As a former Assistant Minister for Trade and Commerce (2006) and a former trade policy advisor to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (2004-2006), Mr Tabaiwalu cannot plead ignorance as the reason behind his misinformation campaign. He claimed that under the Alliance Government, the growth rate was five per cent, under the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT) Government, which was led by his now Leader Sitiveni Rabuka, the growth rate was 4.2 per cent and the most outrageous claim of all is that under the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) the average growth rate was 5.6 per cent. He goes on to claim that growth rate under FijiFirst the growth rate has been 2.1 per cent.
Mr Tabaiwalu has not provided any source to back his figures, as people rarely do on social media but that has not stopped people from taking it as the Gospel truth. He does not say but it is understood that this is the Gross Domestic Product growth rate, unless Mr Tabaiwalu has some other methods of arriving at these figures.
He says: “there are the facts.” Mr Tabaiwalu claiming this does not make it a fact.
Quick research with the Reserve Bank of Fiji provided some very different figures.
The Reserve Bank of Fiji is the country’s central bank, the right authority to have the right figures. These are the figures from Reserve Bank of Fiji which is available to the public or anyone with eager to know the fats, the real facts and not the type backed by political agenda. Average growth rate under the Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara-led Alliance Government was 3.3 per cent. The Government was in power from 1971 till 1986.
Average GDP growth rate under the Ratu Mara/Sitiveni Rabuka – which is the Interim Government and SVT Government period from 1987 – 1998 was 2.5 per cent. Average growth rate under Rabuka leadership from 1992 till 1998 was 2.2 per cent.
Under Laisenia Qarase from his interim administration carried on till SDL administration from 2000
As a former Assistant Minister for Trade and Commerce (2006) and a former trade policy advisor to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (2004-2006), Mr Tabaiwalu cannot plead ignorance as the reason behind his misinformation campaign.
till 2006, the rate was 1.4 per cent! Under the Bainimarama-Government the average GDP growth rate was 2.3 per cent. This is from the period 2007 till 2014.
And, under the current FijiFirst Government, the average GDP growth rate from 2014 to 2018 has been 3.4 per cent.
These figures are not plucked out of thin air. These figures have not been created with a political agenda, all these figures have been part of RBF’s annual release and part of Parliament hansard from 1971.
A fact that is proved as correct is hailed as the truth.