PM: Biman has baseless motions

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama speaking in Parliament on Monday, May 9, 2022. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama accused Opposition member of Parliament and National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad for always coming up with baseless motions for money-wasting ideas so that he can “shilly-shally” and idle away the nation’s time.

Prof Prasad moved a motion that Parliament authorises the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs to assess the impact of direct initiatives to farmers in the agricultural sector, in particular the:

  • distribution of seeds and seedlings for cash crop;
  • help in the form of materials provided to dairy farmers;
  • provision of irrigation pumps/piping;
  • rice planting, ploughing and harrowing of land by the Ministry of Agriculture; and
  • handling of breeder goats/sheep; and report back at the next sitting of Parliament.

“Why should we task a Standing Committee with doing what any Fijian already can, which is to read the extreme facts and data that the Government publishes regularly.

“If honourable Professor Prasad wants to assess the impacts of the initiatives and the current overall performance of the sector, he can read that data,” Mr Bainimarama said in Parliament last week.

He told Parliament that throughout the pandemic agriculture was a reliable and resilient sector that grew to record strength, supporting livelihoods and enhancing Fiji’s nutrition security.

“We crossed the $100 million mark in agricultural exports for the first time in 2020.

“Mr Speaker, honourable Professor Prasad’s motion is worse than juvenile. He is arguing with facts and figures, and even a child would know better.

Here are the facts, Mr. Speaker, after breaking records in 2020 agriculture exports rose to a further $123 million in 2021.

“Fiji had also witnessed significant growth in the export of kava, ginger and turmeric amongst other spices in the past two years, exported mostly to the United States of America.

“The top agriculture export categories in 2021 were ginger, assorted vegetables, cassava, chicken meat and eggs. These are all positive results of what this side of Parliament has shown to the agriculture sector. Unlike members of the other side we are all about results not just rhetoric.”

Prof Prasad said one only had to look at the 2020 Agriculture Survey Summary to note the decline of the industry despite the exclusivity.

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