CSO alliance wants attorney-general to step down

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Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Parliament. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI/FT FILE

The Fiji CSO Alliance for COVID-19 Humanitarian Response has called for the resignation of the Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The alliance said the economy was falling at an alarming rate and it was deeply concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis in Fiji.

In a statement issued yesterday, it said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had displayed a profound lack of economic knowledge necessary for this mandate, and that the direction of Fiji’s economy in the COVID-19 era would be better served under a new and more competent minister.

The CSO said he needed to reflect on his multiple portfolios and leave the economy to qualified economists and a bipartisan group who could deliver Fiji with a much better response and recovery plan.

“Since the first case of COVID-19 in March last year, many NGOs and CSOs have become the humanitarian frontliners of this pandemic,” the alliance said.

“We have never wavered from supporting all those that have come to us to ask for help, whether it has been families or even government officials with their requests.

“We have done this work with utmost care and while maintaining the dignity of the recipients, as we are all human beings and citizens of our beautiful country.”

It said repeated calls for the Government to work with them have landed on deaf ears.

“We are witnessing the trauma that many families and communities are facing with massive job losses, hunger, poor health and lack of access to essential needs,” the alliance said.

“We can see the surge in the number of requests for assistance from across the country. And yet, the Minister for Economy is completely out of touch with the urgent help that so many Fijians desperately need.

“We demand the minister to acknowledge that all that has been done so far has been through donor funds and loans.

The alliance said the Minister for Economy had 365 days to put in place a recovery plan but instead resorted to blame games and accusations of politicising the issue.

A copy of the statement was sent to the A-G and was acknowledged but no response was received when this edition went to press last night.

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