The people’s Coalition Government aims to be transparent and will welcome dissenting opinions on difficult choices that lie ahead for the country.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Professor Biman Prasad said they would be upfront with the people of Fiji, unlike the FijiFirst’s style of governance, where problems facing the nation were hidden from the people.
While delivering his ministerial statement in Parliament on Thursday, Prof Prasad said one thing was for certain, Fiji could no longer be run with a “business as usual” approach.
“We cannot pretend that things can go on as before,” he said.
“The very basic services on which we all depend are now at risk. We cannot afford to wait. We must act now, we must find the money now, we must invest the money now.
“It is economically imperative that people live their lives well.
“We have to give confidence to our entrepreneurs and employers that the infrastructure will be there to support their investments. And we can do this. Because we have to do this.
“But there are costs. It needs sacrifices. All of this information should have been out in public years ago.
“We need people to know and understand the challenges. We need everyone thinking about them and working together to help us deal with them.
“This is what the last government did not do. It hid these problems from the people.
“It said ‘everything is great, we are doing so well and you have more and better things than ever before. But that was just not true.
“How can you talk about all the new and improved things you are building and promoting, when you are not telling us about the challenges just to maintain the things we already have, even as they deteriorate around us?
“This must end. The people must know. And we want the people to join us in collectively overcoming these challenges.”
Prof Prasad said the Coalition Government’s personal commitment was to ensure economic policymaking was done in broad daylight, was transparent and was based on inclusiveness.
“We want people to have the time to think about what we are proposing, to talk to us about it and yes, to criticise it. Budget measures should not be prepared in secrecy.
“We can see the difficult choices ahead and these choices will not be popular. But we want people to be able to prepare and to plan ahead.
“The Fiscal Review Committee is working and we will wait for the final report. But we are already proceeding to implement some measures that require policy change.”