New plan to remove hurdles

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Savenaca Narube and Minister for Finance Biman Prasad . Picture: SUPPLIED

A development plan will only be useful if it is implemented properly, says Unity Fiji leader Savenaca Narube.

Last week, Mr Narube met with members from the Ministry of Finance, including Minister Professor Biman Prasad and permanent secretary Shiri Gounder, to present the party’s submission on Fiji’s new National Development Plan (NDP).

In a statement, Mr Narube said the rate of execution of Fiji’s national plans had been extremely poor. “Government uses a lot of resources to prepare development plans, and these valuable financial and human resources will be wasted if the new plan is not implemented,” he said.

Mr Narube also informed the team that the starting point of the new NDP should identify the reasons for the low implementation of the existing plan and prepare solutions to remove these hurdles.

He added that development plans were executed through the annual budgets, therefore, one of the major hurdles in implementing the plan was the lack of money.

Mr Narube said the new plan must develop a revenue projection model to estimate the resource envelope, and this must take into consideration the acceptable debt to GDP ratio.

Apart from this, Mr Narube said the resource envelope must take into account the reduction of operating expenses as a ratio of total spending and explore ways to increase revenue sources from development partners.

He added that a chapter on public financial management must be included in the new NDP.

“This chapter should discuss the relevant role of government, the need to reduce the size of government and increasing the efficiency of government spending.”

Mr Narube said that Government had an important additional role to play in identifying and promoting potential growth sectors of the economy.

“The Unity Fiji delegation suggested that the new plan should adequately address the major challenges that Fiji faces including the lack of economic diversification, the widening disparity in wealth and incomes, and increasing poverty.

“In Unity Fiji’s views, the best chance for economic diversification lies in the primary industries. To realise the potential of these resources, the new plan should learn from past mistakes and design an integrated model to fully develop our natural resources.”

The delegation also put forth the suggestion that the new plan should be short, and it should be launched in Fiji.

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