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  • Writer's pictureNational Federation Party - Fiji

Deeply hurtful, highly insensitive and arrogant


June 27, 2022

The Economy Minister’s comment that just because “children are scavenging for scrap metal in dump sites or selling food outside supermarkets does not necessarily mean that there is a spike in the levels of poverty in Fiji” is not only deeply hurtful and highly insensitive but also extremely arrogant. Sayed-Khaiyum said this in response to queries from the media on his response to a FCOSS comment about children scavenging for scrap metals and selling food outside supermarkets.

How can we expect a minister sitting on a salary of nearly $200,000 and travelling in a dark-tinted Prado to understand the daily struggles of the Fijian people? It shows this government’s total lack of empathy and compassion towards the people.

We have met so many families who are surviving on little to no income and are struggling to provide 3 meals a day while also being priced out by an expensive rental market.

We have met young graduates who don’t have a job and elderly people who cannot afford to survive on what little retirement pensions or the monthly social welfare payments they have.

All of these are precipitated by an economy that was grinding to a halt even before the pandemic. With very little private sector investment, our economy has negligible breathing space to cushion the impacts of external shocks.

This has been made worse by a government that just cannot accept the fact that they have failed to transform Fiji into a sustainable economy fuelled by private investment instead of billions of dollars in loans that burden the taxpayer and plunges the economy deeper into debt.

Sayed-Khaiyum should reflect on his colossal failures as Minister of the Economy instead of making highly insensitive remarks like this.

Lenora Qereqeretabua Vice-President, National Federation Party


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