The decision of the Opposition to withdraw from the Parliament today (Yesterday Monday December 8) because a ruling by the Speaker went against them prior to the consideration of the Budget Estimates is deeply disappointing.
The Opposition has betrayed the interests of ordinary Fijians with this cheap political stunt and especially those who voted for them. Their job as the Opposition is to ensure that the Budget is debated properly, effectively and meets relevant appropriate standards. Indeed, Government was looking forward to that debate so that the final Budget outcome is the best that it can be in the national interest. Instead, the Opposition chose to place its narrow political interests before those of the Fijian people.
By withdrawing from the Parliament, the Opposition demonstrated a complete disregard for democracy because in order for democracy to function properly, constructive dialogue and debate is vital. This was a short-sighted decision which again demonstrates the difficulty that the Opposition is having coming to terms with the choice the Fijian people made at the September election.
The Appropriation Bill has now been passed and so the 2015 Budget has been officially approved. For the rest of the week, we will be working on the consequential laws that will complement the budget and enable the Government to begin implementing its service delivery to the Fijian people in the coming year. Once that has been completed, individual programs can proceed and, among other things, tenders will be called.
We have a lot to deliver and we are focused on turning promises into deeds with the greatest efficiency so ordinary Fijians will benefit from this forward-looking Budget.