March 9, 2022
The Fiji First government has yet again subverted parliamentary democracy by scuttling any scrutiny of its revised 2021-22 budget.
This is an ambush of parliamentary process due to the adoption of an unaccountable and non-transparent procedure.
The fact that the budget is to be debated and passed in less than 24 hours after it has been announced means the Opposition will have no time to intensely scrutinise the voluminous budget documents.
The revised budget will be announced at 7.30pm on 24th March in parliament by the Economy Minister. It will be debated and passed from 9.30am on 25th March with the debate being likely restricted in terms of normal speaking time.
Worse, the Budget will escape scrutiny because there will be no Committee of Supply. This is when parliament resolves to go into a Committee to scrutinise each of the 50 Heads of the Budget.
The job of the Opposition is to hold government to account. But it is clear government wants to clearly avoid any legitimate process and prevent the exposure of pitfalls in its finances that will obviously be camouflaged by freebies and handouts.
This is a government that still has a hangover from its days as an unelected regime by continuing to relentlessly ride roughshod over parliamentary democracy and the mandate of the people. This move yet again confirms we are ruled by a dictatorial government and far from a genuine parliamentary democracy.
The people cannot wait to rid Fiji of this malaise by voting this dictatorial government out at the elections.