Statement by FijiFirst Leader Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama
My fellow Fijians,
Under my leadership, we have had 9 years of straight growth. This economic growth means every Fijian is better off with improved standards of living, better access to services like water, electricity, roads, bridges and jetties, quality education, more help for our elderly, disabled and poor, improved healthcare and other services. The fact is that Fijians now have more opportunities, more jobs, more income and more luxuries of life under my FijiFirst government.
We have introduced many innovative policies to lift the lives of every Fijian. Our financially disadvantaged, disabled, women and elderly are protected and supported by Government.
Rabuka in his recent video is bragging about things he didn’t achieve. He said that growth when he was Prime Minister averaged 4.3 percent. That’s a lie. In fact it was much lower at 2.3 percent.
Rabuka lied again when he said that he had the highest growth rate of 8.4 percent in 1998. The actual growth rate was just 1.3 percent. In fact the economy contracted by a huge 6.4 percent in 1987 because of Rabuka – the largest contraction in Fiji’s history.
He is also misleading you on government debt. When he was Prime Minister in 1997, the debt was almost 54 percent of GDP. Today its 47 percent of GDP which is 7 per cent less. It would have been 42 percent if we had not spent half a billion dollars on TC Winston and the recent natural disasters.
The Opposition is comparing debt between 1970 to 2006 and the past 12 years. That’s not right. You cannot take $1 million debt in 1970 and say it’s the same $1m in 2018.
Under Rabuka we lost the National Bank of Fiji and you taxpayers are still paying for this.
Under Rabuka and the SDL Governments our FNPF almost collapsed. That means your savings would have gone down the drain.
They say cost of living is going up in the country. Can Biman and Rabuka name 3 countries where cost of living is not going up? To help families, we give free education, free medicine, bus fare, subsidized electricity and water, pension for our elderly, social welfare, and now we pay insurance for all civil servants, RFMF, police, prisons and social welfare recipients. Our unemployment rate is at a 20 year low.
Because of Rabuka the RBF had to devalue the Fiji dollar twice and by 20 percent again in 1998. Because of Rabuka the Fijian dollar lost 50 percent of its value and we are still paying the price. Because of this devaluation the cost of goods went up and our foreign reserves depleted.
Our Foreign reserves reached a record of $2.45 billion last year.
Fiji is only the 3rd country in the world to issue Green Bonds. Our finances are managed well, that is why we were allowed to list on the London Stock Exchange. We are also the first country to do so. The global community has placed trust in Fiji to lead the world in fighting global climate change. This type of world recognition is a big deal for a small country like ours.
Do you want to risk all we’ve worked hard to achieve in exchange for opposition’s lies and their empty promises?
My vision for Fiji has and will always be for a successful and healthy nation that offers stability, peace, security and a lot of good benefits for all our people.
Our Government has always delivered. For the next 4 years, my vision for Fiji is to help our country grow even more and ensure that we distribute the fruits of our success to all our people. FijiFirst has always delivered and given you the benefits that you need.
SODELPA and NFP, I ask you to immediately stop all this old style of politics because FijiFirst is a party for everyone in our country no matter who or where we are. Our actions speak louder than your hollow words.
We develop! We deliver! We work together as one nation. We are a party that puts Fiji first and we have achieved so much more than what we promised for all Fijians. We have done a lot and we promise to do even more! Only FijiFirst can create an even better future for Fiji and all Fijians.
Help me to continue to build a better Fiji and vote 688! Vinaka.