Fiji Times

SUVA, Fiji (Aug. 28) - Economist have warned the Fiji Government constantly about the need to cut back on its expense accounts.

Over the past few months, they have renewed warnings about the need for the Government to start living within its means and to stick to its budgetary limits.

Yet this message does not seem to be getting through to the thousands of civil servants throughout the country.

Today the Public Service Commission continues to spend thousands of dollars to house and feed a former high commissioner who is now a Cabinet minister.

Minister Without Portfolio Adi Samanunu Talakuli Cakobau has been put into this position because the government quarters assigned to her is not ready.

PSC says that the government quarter was assigned to her about three months ago.

Yet when Samanunu returned from Malaysia just recently, she still did not have a place to stay.

Somebody must answer for this state of affairs.

The civil service needs to realize that taxpayers are becoming very sick of this "malua fever" [snail pace fever] that seems to plague State services.

If the government quarters was assigned three months ago, but maintenance is still not completed as yet, the Public Works Department or maintenance crew need a major shakedown.

Taxpayers of this country already pay a lot of money just keeping civil servants in paid employment. They pay a lot of money so that civil servants can get a pay rise every year.

For civil servants to continue to treat that generosity with disdain is a sign that public sector reforms are not just necessary but long overdue.

It is time for the Government to seriously consider revising its "no redundancy" policy.

It is time the Government take seriously all calls to cut back on its spending spree.

It is time for the Government to take civil servants to task if their inefficiencies begin to cost other department's money.

The money that civil servants play with does not belong to them; it belongs to the people of this nation.

The Government must be accountable for how it spends every cent of that money.

It seems the Auditor-General will have his work cut out for him this year just as he did last year in his reports to the Public Accounts Committee.

This time around big spenders should lose their jobs.

August 29, 2006

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