Opposition Whip and SODELPA MP Lynda Tabuya says that the Minister of Economy is like a father who promises his children $10 spending money each. But instead of getting the full $10, each child only gets $4 and if they want the remaining $6, they need to make their case to their father and it is entirely his decision whether to give the balance or not.
Hon Tabuya says that the Honourable Minister for Economy controls 61% of our entire national budget expenditure through a requisition system where each ministry has to reapply for funds.
“What we see from the budget trends in the last sitting is that the $4 used by the Children (or Ministries) was only enough to cover its operating expenses and that the remaining $6 that make up funding for Ministerial programs were never paid out in full. This $6 or 61% of the 2019/2020 budget estimates will need approval from the Minister for Economy and will encompass most of the 2018 election promises. In past budgets these requisitions allocations have never been fully spent or approved by the Hon Minister for Economy,” she said.
She said that the Ministries don’t receive the full allocated amount and because of it, the ministries are not able to fully execute their job.
“So here you have Ministries given just enough funds to operate but without the full funds to make any meaningful difference in the lives of Fiji citizens. What good is a Ministry that is fully operational but doesn’t have the financial means or tools to truly help its people?” she questioned.
She also claimed that the Ministers don’t have full autonomy and the Attorney General is disempowering them.
“How frustrating it must be for our Ministers, good people, as competent as they may be, to not have the autonomy to deliver much needed services to our people. How disempowering it must be to have a boss who is nothing less than a control freak that micromanages and does not trust his own team with freedom,” she said.