Fiji Government Holds Public Consultations On Development Plans

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AG: Meetings ‘going right down to the grassroots’

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 9, 2015) – Government will continue with its public consultations on the National Development Plans to hear directly from the villagers.

Attorney-General and Minister of Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said this was the reason they needed to consult the public and hear from those at grassroots level on their needs in the development process instead of third or fourth parties such as the provincial council meetings and the "bose ni tikina" meetings.

Mr Sayed- Khaiyum said the development plan was "utterly critical for any country".

And for the current plan which the Government is holding public consultations on, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they were looking at a short to medium term plan and a long-term plan.

"So having a development plan in this particular instance, we're looking at short to medium term with a five-year plan and of course a long-term plan for 20-year development plan. It's critical because we as a nation need to know exactly where our development priorities are," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said Fiji once had a development plan prior to the first coup instigated by then army commander Sitiveni Rabuka and it was never put to use.

"Now we're talking to a number of multilateral agencies, development partners, spoken to a number of interest groups within Fiji."

He added they would have 664 meetings throughout the country of which there would be 216 in the Central Division, 191 for the West, 108 in the Eastern Division and 148 meeting for Vanua Levu and the North.

"This is going right down to the grassroots, it is very critical to have these meetings because we're hearing directly from ordinary Fijians as to what their development priorities are, what are their everyday issues that affect them, what do they think they would have as a development priority in five years' time, in ten years' time. We're not only talking about road, bridges, water, electricity, but also demographic changes within the areas itself."

He was later questioned by Mr Viliame Gavoka on why couldn't they use the bose ni tikina and the provincial council meetings about the development plans to which he said they needed to hear directly from the people and not from third or fourth parties as they wanted to get as much feedback as possible.

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