Parliament Stability Important For Economic Growth, Sustainable Development

Academic addresses Melanesian leader's conference on political stability

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 26, 2016) – Parliament instability can stem from a wide range of issues which need to be addressed, says Professor Vijay Naidu from the University of the South Pacific's School of Government, Development and International Affairs.

Prof Naidu was one of a few academics selected to be part of the Melanesian leader's conference in Nadi where discussions centered on the importance of political stability for economic growth and sustainability pertaining to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.

He said the UNDP organised conference came at an opportune and relevant time for Fiji and other countries in the Melanesian region, such as Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

"I suppose Parliament instability can stem from the rapid change of governments like in Vanuatu, in the Solomons and in Papua New Guinea," he said.

"Generally when we fight at general elections, Government should be in power for the whole term whether it is four years or five years in the case of Papua New Guinea."

He said one of the reasons behind parliamentary instability was that some governments were not able to complete their terms.

"What has happened in the past 10 or 20 years, most governments in the region have served only half of their term or even less because of this vote of no confidence.

"Part of it has to do with accountability and it has to do with having independent members or members crossing the floor, etcetera.

"The more instability in Parliament, the greater it is for typical issues like making policies will not be carried out.

"It's about seeing things through and getting things done."

Opposition MP Prem Singh said there were a number of lessons to be learnt by members of Fiji's Parliament during the conference.

"I think it provides a very robust round of discussions particularly for countries in the Melanesian region like Vanuatu, PNG and Solomon Islands," he said.

"We've seen case studies and they all relate to how we strengthen institutions like Parliament.

"Parliament is well known to be the highest place in the land in as far as the development of laws and Bills.

"So it is important for us to know how we can strengthen Parliament to achieve stability which can translate into economic and social development in general."

Fiji Times Online.
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