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  • Writer's pictureNational Federation Party - Fiji

Stop hoodwinking people

The youths of Fiji are not going to be hoodwinked by the desperate vote-buying tactics being used by Youth and Sports Minister Parveen Bala in his last-ditch attempt to rescue the political fortunes of Fiji First, said National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad.

Professor Prasad said the youths know they have been neglected for the last three years by a cruel and heartless government that has lacked the vision to create for them meaningful employment that pays decent wages and salaries.

He said those youths and young graduates who have found employment, are employed at low salaries not commensurate with their qualifications.

The NFP Leader assured the youths that the People’s Alliance-NFP government after the elections has a vision to ensure the youths are upskilled and their capacities are enhanced to ensure their employment pays them decent wages and salaries.

Professor Prasad was responding to Bala’s recent statement, while handing over equipment to youths in Ba last week, that it wasn’t a vote-buying ploy but money for purchase of the equipment was provisioned for in the Budget.

“Minister Bala must publicly state which Youth budgetary provision is being used to distribute equipment to youths to prove the handouts by him to youths are not for vote buying”.

“If it was part of the budget allocation, then there was no need for Bala to defend the handout”.

“By referring to vote buying, the Minister diluted the nature and significance of the assistance, which should have been the focus in order to fulfil the objective of youth empowerment”.

“It is therefore important for Bala now act transparently by publicly revealing which budgetary provision from the Youth Ministry has been used to buy the equipment and whether the provision is specifically targeted at purchasing equipment”.

“A scrutiny of the Youth Ministry Budget doesn’t show any specific allocation, apart from provision for youth capacity building and training”.

“And giving handout is not upskilling, capacity building and training to ensure youths are ready to utilise their skills for income generation and employment”.

“Most importantly, just like the lack of any assessment of the effectiveness of grants for SME’s before the 2018 elections, Bala should tell the people if any such assessment has been done to gauge the success of handouts to youths under the pretext of income generation”.

“Failure to provide clear and concise answers to both our legitimate queries will confirm the perception of people that these giveaways are a vote buying gimmick”.

Prof. Biman Prasad



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