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Achievements

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Achievements of FLP

1987 General Elections

The 1987 General Election saw the defeat of Great Council of Chiefs backed Alliance party which had ruled for 17 consecutive years after the Independence. The fledgling Fiji Labour Party managed to out stage the sitting government comprehensively, winning 27 seats in the House of Representative out of possible 51 seats. The party later went to form the Government with the following composition:

Dr. Timoci Bavadra - Prime Minister and Minister for Fijian & Home Affairs
Harish Sharma - Dep. PM and Min for Housing, Urban Affairs & Information
Jai Ram Reddy - Attorney General and Minister for Justice
Mahendra Chaudhry - Minister for Finance and Economic Planning
Mosese Volavola - Minister for Lands, Energy and Mineral Resources
Joeli Kalou - Minister for Labour and Immigration
Dr. Satendra Nandan - Minister for Health and Social Welfare
Dr. Tupeni Baba - Minister for Education, Youth and Sports
Krishna Datt - Minister for Foreign Affairs and Civil Aviation
Ratu Jo Nacula - Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests
Ahmed Bhamji - Minister for Communications, Transport and Works
Navin Maharaj - Minister for Trade, Industry and Tourism

The Fiji Military Forces overthrew the Labour Government after only one month in office. The armed overthrow was led by Lt. Col. Sitiveni Rabuka, on May 14th 1987 at 10.00am and members of the government were held in captivity for seven days at the Boron House. Another attempt to get back to constitutional Government of National Unity also met the same fate when military again took over on 25th September 1987 and imposed military rule.

1992 General Elections

Previously Fiji Labour Party had decided that it would not contest any elections under the racially biased and discriminatory 1990 Constitution. However, the prevailing situation at that moment compelled the National Council meeting to decide otherwise and contest the 1992 general elections to have a voice in the House of Representatives. The Party did extremely well despite their late start to win the following 13 seats:

Mahendra P Chaudhry
Anand Babla
Krishna Chand
G R S Chaudhry
Tulsi Ram Khelawan
Shiromani Madhawan
Vinod Maharaj
Dr. K S Naidu
R Prasad
Pradhuman Raniga
Shiu Sharan Sharma
Lateef Subedar
Lekh Ram Vayeshno

1994 Snap Elections

The 1994 snap elections was a bitter affair with National Federation Party as it used racial overtures and FLP's conditional support for Sitiveni Rabuka to become the Prime Minister in return of immediate review of the racially discriminatory 1990 Constitution, ALTA, VAT and Labour reforms. Though FLP suffered due to the distortion of certain facts during the Elections, we still managed to win 7 Seats in the House of Representatives. More importantly, FLP raked in 46% of the total Indian votes, which indicated that labour still enjoyed a very strong support in the community.

The following members were elected to the House of Representatives following the snap elections:

Mahendra P Chaudhry
Krishna Datt
Anand Babla
Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi
Vinod Maharaj
Dr. K S Naidu
Shiromani Madhavan

1999 National Elections

The 1999 General Elections was held under the newly formulated 1997 Constitution and Fiji Labour Party after running an extensive campaign to help the poor and promising to address the disadvantaged, alleviation of poverty, bringing down the basic cost of livelihood, overwhelmingly won 37 seats. Together with its coalition partners, the coalition had 52 seats.
The following were the Labour Party members in Government:

Mahendra P. Chaudhry - Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Public Enterprise, Sugar Industry and Information.
Dr. Tupeni L. Baba - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Anand K. Singh - Attorney General and Minister for Justice.
Ratu Moses Volavola - Minister for Lands, ALTA and Mineral Resources
S. S. Sharma - Minister for Works and Energy.
Pratap Chand - Minister for Education.
Ratu T. Momoedonu - Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations
Anup Kumar - Minister for Commerce, Business Development & Investment
Dr. Ganesh Chand - Minister for National Planning, Local Government, Housing and Environment.
Manoa Bale - Minister for Regional Development and Multi-Ethnic Affairs
Lavenia Padarath - Minister for Women, Culture and Social Welfare.
Gaffar Ahmad - Assistant Minister for Home Affairs.
L. R. Vayeshnoi - Assistant Minister in Prime Minister's Office.
John Ali - Assistant Minister for Housing and Transport.
Dr. Gunasegran Gounder - Assistant Minister for Health.

The People Coalition Government one year at helm speaks for itself as milestone were reached and below is an account of the achievements of the government.

Peoples Coalition Government's Scorecard

It's been a busy 12 months in office

A year in office and the People's Coalition Government has made it very clear that it is genuinely concerned about the plight of our ordinary citizens and competent enough to manage the country's affairs effectively. The new national administration with Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry at the helm has provided efficient and caring Government, sensitive to the people's needs and has shown prudent management of the country's finances. It set about immediate to act on its election promises to improve the quality of life of our people. The following is Government's scorecard fro its first 12 months in office:

Reduction in the Cost of Living

The People's Colation Government moved fast to make good its election promise to bring down the cost of living and provide relief to the poor and needy through a series of measures highlighted below:

bulletCustoms Duty and VAT were removed from essential food items: rice, flour/sharps, cooking oil, tinned fish, powdered milk and tea. Price relief on these items range from 17% to 27%. 
bulletWater rates were reduced by 10% but with the system changed from quarterly to monthly billings, consumers have benefited far more from the concession base rate for the first 50 units.
bulletElectricity charges brought down 1.5c per unit. Another 1.5c per unit reduction is expected in August.
bulletInternational telephone charges are down 10%. Other off-peak rates for both international and domestic trunk calls now apply.
bulletInterest rate on home loans to low income earners receiving less than $6,500 brought down from 11.5% to 6% through the Housing Authority. The effectiveness of this policy in providing homes to the poor is underscored by the fact that HA has underwritten loans worth $700,000 since the rates came down. Reduction of HA rates also put pressure on banks and other institutions to drop housing rates, now one of the fastest growing credit items for banks.
For first homeowners the threshold on VAT refund raised to $50,000 from $30,000.
bulletGovernment reduces exorbitant Third Party insurance premiums by almost 50% in most cases, reducing rates for private car owners from $90 to $60 and for taxis from $300 to $150.
bulletGovernment has announced its intention to regulate bank fees and charges under the Counter Inflation Act. Work on this is under progress. Action is in train to set up a Financial Services Commission to watch over consumer interests in the financial sector.
bulletIncreases in personal tax concessions which effectively raise the income tax threshold to $10,000: child allowance raised by $200 to $500 for the first two child; spouse allowance increased to $1000; and FNPF/insurance allowance increased from $1500 per couple to $1500 for each spouse.

Other relief measures to the poor and disadvantaged in society will be highlighted under sections such as poor relief and education.

Assistance to the Poor

The People's Coalition Government is committed to the creation of a just and fair society. To achieve this Budget 2000 provides a number of specific measures to assist the poor and alleviate poverty. Total allocations to the poverty alleviation measures undertaken by the Government come to $50 million, double that allocated by the previous Government in 1999 Budget.

bulletDespite allowance or grant to the family assistance scheme raised by $1 million to $6 million.
bullet$1.5 million set aside for poverty alleviation projects within the Social Welfare Department. This is in addition to $1.1 million in grants to NGOs and voluntary organizations.
bullet$1.5 million for the micro finance scheme to assist poor families get into small income earning projects.
bullet$2 million provided for land for the relocation of squatters in the western and eastern divisions.
bulletGovernment is undertaking a study for an old age pension scheme for those who have no source of income in their old age.

Education - assisting students

Total education Budget increased $10 million:

bulletIn rural areas and for poor families fee-free education has been raised to Form Five level.
bulletAn Education Commission set up to look into Fiji's education system and to bring it in line with the demands of a modern state.
bulletA $1 million student loan scheme set up to assist students from poor families wishing to take up tertiary education.
bulletIn response to complaints, a scholarship review panel set up to investigate claims of bias and favouritism in the allocation of Multi-ethnic scholarships.
bullet$1 million set aside to upgrade and maintain school buildings and facilities particularly in rural centres.
bulletAnother $1.2 million for upgrading of Government owned school buildings and staff quarters, many of which have been neglected for years.

Health

The Health sector had deteriorated markedly over the past decade or so. To upgrade and modernise health services, Government increased the Health Budget by $ 15 million to $108 million - an increase of 14%.

Close to $12 million has been allocated for the construction of new wings of new hospitals at Nadi, Vunidawa, Ba and Nasinu, for the purchase of drugs and biomedical equipment for subdivisional hospitals and health centres.

Provision was also made for increased staffing, and to upgrade pays and working conditions of paramedical staff including nurse during the year.

The Economy

bulletThe economy is showing strong growth, forecast at more that 4% this year with the major boost coming from sugar, tourism, construction and mining.
bulletGovernment finances are in very healthy shape. With prudent management, the People's Coalition Government brought fiscal deficit down by $40 million in 1999 after only 7 months in office. It achieved a net Budget surplus of $47.4 million in the first quarter of this year.
bulletThe taxpayers was saved $23 million when Government scrapped bogus consultancies on Y2K and accrual accounting systems.
bulletInflation is running at negative levels despite increases in fuel price and strong economic growth. The decline is largely due to Government initiatives in bringing down food prices and the cost of basic utilities water, electricity and telephone.
bulletForeign Reserves continues high at $829 million and the Fiji currency remains stable. Although imports are expected to rise push up by a buoyant economy, the Balance of Payments is excepted to register a surplus.
bulletForeign investment has picked up considerably particularly in the tourism industry. Private sector credit in this sector over the year, showing that more people are engaging in self-employing activities.
bulletA little over 3000 new jobs were created in the subsistence sector with the formal sector showing an increase of 900 new jobs during this period. Bureau of Statices estimates show 10,637 new jobs to be created during the year.

Business

Measures taken to reduce cost of living such as reduction in public utility charges, lowering of interest rates, bank fees and charges have had a beneficial effect on the cost of doing business in Fiji.'

These measures, along with other initiatives and legislation proposed to enhance transparency and accountability in the determination of Government policies, have resulted in a level playing field for all entrepreneurs without favouring anyone.

Sugar

bulletGovernment scraped the $27 million drought relief and rehabilitation loan to cane farmers that they were required to pay back over a five year term - giving a total of about $40 million for crop rehabilitation and drought relief programs.
bulletUnder ALTA distress relief, Government allocated $20 million to a rehabilitation scheme for displaced farmers. Each tenant farmer opting out of the system gets a grant of $28,000 to help start life anew. So far 44 farmers have received $1 million under the scheme.
bulletGovernment approved a $140 million electricity producing plant for the Rarawai Mill using bagasse. It is a joint venture between FSC and a French company with farmers and other industry participants allowed a stake in it. This would mean no pollution for Ba residents from bagasse during the milling season.
bulletTo achieve high levels of efficiency, government has directed that the FSC operates each of its four mills as separate cost and profit centres. It also wants both cane growers and mill workers to be paid on an incentive base system that recognizes and rewards enterprises, efficiency and productivity.
bulletGovernment has actively canvasses the retention of preferential market access for our sugar and other agricultural produce, particularly under the Sugar Protocol with the European Union. Government has taken a vocal stance on this issue at WTO talks and will continue to maintain this position alongside our sister nations of the ACP group.

Tourism

Under Government initiative and tutelage Tourism has become a really dynamic sector promising the creation of hundreds of new jobs both in the construction of a number of new hotels and in expended tourism activities.

bulletGovernment has approved $25 million as equity towards the Natadola Resort Development project to get it off the ground. Natadola was identified in 1973 as allocation for major integrated tourism development but remained undeveloped for want of political will and investor confidence.
bullet$10 million for infrastructure such as roads and water works to support the Natadola project has also been allocated in Budget 2000.
bulletGovernment has welcomed foreign investment to the tune of $350 million or more in hotel construction projects over the next 18 months or so - a number of these developments are at Denarau Island, Nadi: the Hilton Hotel and the Accor Air Pacific Hotel. Trendwest which has just opened up time share apartments in Denarau have given indication they are going ahead with phrase two of their plan.
The Lomaloma Beach resort hotel project at $160 million is yet another major planned development.
bulletGovernment has re-possessed the Grand Pacific Hotel site in Suva so that the hotel can be renovated and restored to its former grandeur.
bulletGovernment has taken over Suva foreshores from GHP along Queen Elizabeth Drive in a bad to clean it up, beautify it and develop it as a marine park/recreation area fro tourists area for tourists and residents alike. Suva foreshore development scheme may include the construction of a shopping/entertainment venue along the waterfront.

Agriculture

Government's land use commission concept is part of a concerted drive to boost agricultural production as a combined effort to promote rural development, create employment and uplift the standard of life in villages.

bulletAgricultural Budget was increase by $10 million to $68 million.
bulletA $15 million Agricultural Diversification Program was set up for 2000.
bulletMahogany - Government has moved fast on the development of this important source. It has identified a preferred partner to begin negotiations on sustainable exploitation of the mahogany forest.
bulletOn both the issues, mahogany as well as the land use commission, Government is working in close consultation with the Great Council of Chiefs. The GCC has already been briefed on theses two issues. Government intends to work in consultation with the GCC on all issues of indigenous concern.

Infrastructure Development

The country's infrastructure has deteriorated markedly over the years and needs serious attention. Rural roads are in pathetic state of disrepair and water supplies at several major centres have suffered regular disruptions.

bulletGovernment boosted the capital workers budget by $29 million to $141 million as part of its expansionary efforts to create employment and provide roads, water and electricity to rural areas.
bullet$8 million for the maintenance of roads and bridges.
bullet$25 million for the third Fiji road upgrade project.
bullet$12 million for maintenance and upgrading of urban and rural water supply systems.
bullet$6 million for he rural electrification program with Government and FEA both putting in $3 million each.
bullet$2 million set aside as a contingency fund to provide immediate relief operations in the event of a natural disaster.

Saving Public Enterprises

Government remains steadfast in its policy that essential public entities must remain in State hands. To this effect it reversed a number of moves by the previous government towards privatisation of essential public services. It also took steps to salvage a number of public companies that were driven onto liquidation under the SVT government because of mismanagement of badly negotiated privatisation deals:

bulletThe privatisation of Fiji Electricity Authority into three separate entities was stopped and the companies scrapped.
bulletThe restructuring of the Civil Aviation Authority was reviewed and contracts given out to private companies rescinded. More than 350 workers made redundant under the scheme were reinstated.
bulletRewa Rice Ltd was revived. Government paid $4.2 million to salvage the company. Government imposed import controls to revive the local rice industry.
bulletGovernment has taken steps to rehabilitate the financially troubled shipyard and slipway. It paid $2.9 million to takeover the mortgage debenture from the ANZ Bank in a bid to takeover majority control of Shipbuilding Fiji Ltd. It is now in the process of appointing a competent management team to run the shipyard and negotiate building contracts.
bulletViti Corp was assisted through the provision of Government guarantees to return to commercial viability.

Accountability and Transparency

Good governance, accountability and transparency are major pillars around which the People's Coalition Government intends to administer our country. To this end it has tabled in Parliament Bills and motions for:

bulletA code of ethics and conduct for all senior office holders including MPs, the president and vice president, judges and other stare executives.
bulletA Freedom on Information Bill which would allow public scrutiny of State documents and the right to information
bulletGovernment has also set up a three-member Commission on Corruption headed by Mr Justice Daniel Fatiaki
bulletCommissioned an inquiry into allegations of corruption and other malpractices in the Immigration Ministry.
bulletConvened a commission of inquiry to investigate alleged impropriety and dereliction of duty in the sale of the Government shipyard and slipway.
bulletFollowing the Air Fiji crash disaster July, last year, Government released all aircraft accident reports to the Media in order to encourage transparency.

Worker Rights:

bulletAllocation to the Labour Ministry increased to allow for more staff so that the department can effectively monitor working conditions and the observation of labour laws.
bulletPublic Service Appeal Board reinstated for civil servants seeking redress on grievances relating to appointments, transfers, promotions and disciplinary penalties within the service. Government reversed decentralisation of PSC power on staff appointments etc.
bulletEqual Employment Opportunities (EEO) is being addressed ti guard against discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, age or disability.
bulletgovernment had begun negotiations on the establishment of a minimum national wage to protect unorganised workers.
bulletWages Council have been directed to meet once a year to review salaries and other conditions of work for unorganised workers in designated industries.
bulletTripartite Forum is being re-established to provide policy advice on important national issues as well as to contribute towards greater industrial peace, harmony and productivity.

Foreign Relations

Government is playing an assertive role in protecting the interest of island nations such as Fiji in the face of increasing globalisation and threats to our major exports posed by the trade liberalisation policies.

bulletAt the WTO conference in Seattle and the Pacific leaders conference in Hawaii Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry spoke out on the need to continue to protect the interest of vulnerable island economies through subsidies and preferential trade agreements. Fiji will continue to mount a strong campaign for this at other international fora.
bulletAt the Pacific Leaders Conference in Japan, the PM pushed for the setting up of a special development assistance fund for Pacific Island nations to be funded by former colonial powers and major trading partners of these island states.
bulletThe Prime Minister met with Australian PM John Howard to state the case for a contribution of preferential trade agreements for our garment and footwear industries. This has been agrees to in principle.
bulletFiji will play host to a major international conference of the ACP-EU group of countries early next month. It will see the signing of a Suva Convention to replace the prestigious Lome Convention. This will be the biggest ever international conference ever held in Fiji, a major plus for the country and its tourism industry.

Forging a future together

A National Development Plan is being formulated. Altogether 32 sectors of development have been identified and consultations on these sectors have begun. The plan will be adopted by consensus, following close consultations with all the sectors.

Resources will than be channelled into these areas to achieve national objectives.


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