Fiji Parliament Passes $1.6 Billion 2016-17 Budget

Bainimarama said’ unprecedented consultation’ lead to ‘strong, fair, inclusive’ bill

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 8, 2016) – After intense debate, scrutiny and long sitting hours for four days, Parliament has passed the State's $3.302 billion [US$1.6 billion] 2016-2017 National Budget.

Economy Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum moved the motion for a third reading of the 2016-2017 Appropriation Bill of 2016 (Bill No. 35 of 2016) be read a third time and passed.

The budget, which pioneers the State's new financial year, was passed by 31 votes while 14 MPs voted against the budget and five did not vote.

Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni congratulated the MPs for their contribution to the important parliamentary process of passing the budget.

"A Bill for an Act to appropriate a sum of $3,302,212,765 for the ordinary services of Government for the financial year ending 31st July 2017 (Bill No. 35 of 2016) enacted by the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji," Dr Luveni said.

"Parliament has now passed the 2016-2017 budget, I congratulate all members for their contribution to this important process," she said.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama had earlier said the new budget was strong, fair, inclusive and one that included unprecedented consultation.

Mr Bainimarama said the budget made a bold statement to the world of where Fiji stood today, and where it intended to go.

[PIR editor's note: On July 8, 2016 Fiji Times reported that 'Some Opposition MPs yesterday claimed that Parliament was being gagged by government ministers when they sought clarification on allocations made to respective ministries in the 2016-2017 National Budget. ... National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad, who sought clarification from the Minister for Local Government Parveen Kumar on why there was a subsidy of $1.2 million [US$579,000] for the Naboro landfill, was told to limit his questions during the sitting of the Committee of Supply yesterday. ... Speaker Dr Jiko Luvenionly allowed MPs to ask questions and seek clarification from ministers after they had moved a motion. ... Dr Luveni said this was important to avoid duplication. Prof Prasad claimed that ministers were not answering questions, including some that had even been sent to their office. ... Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Opposition MPs were given time to ask the questions and seek clarifications from the respective ministers.']

Fiji Times Online.
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