The loan is intended to finance wholesale reforms within the Civil Service, Public Enterprises, Fiji National Provident Fund, Land and Agriculture.
In its letter, the president of the movement reminds the IMF that the government that claims to be negotiating with it was declared illegal by the Fiji Court of Appeal on the 9th of April, 2009.
Usaia Waqatairewa says Bainimarama and his cronies’ illegal power grab in a military coup in 2006 were based on unproven claims of wide scale corruption and mismanagement of the economy by the Lasenia Qarase led Coalition Government. The Coalition elected in May 2006 was in fact the first real opportunity to give the minority Indian Community a genuine opportunity in governing as required under Fiji’s Constitution.
The letter is as follows:
"More than three years on, the Bainimarama led Dictatorship are the ones that have totally mismanaged the economy and caused social havoc among Fiji’s suffering population. There has been wholesale sacking in the Public Service while military spending now makes up the largest expenditure n the Annual Budget. This year the Military’s budgeted allocation is again set to increase by 40%. Of this increase, 42% is allocated as salary for military personnel.4 This is in contrast to the salary cut imposed on the civil service straight after the 2006 coup and no wage increase since.
Figures don’t lie and the government itself has admitted that for the first time in Fiji’s modern history that Fiji’s poverty level is well on the way to exceed 50% of the population if it continues with current trend. 5 Ill thought out decisions such as the sacking of the entire judiciary and magistrates and the appointment of cronies while not following Judicial Service Commission procedures, decrees to control the media and a proposed decree to permanently block future judicial redress by previous overseas parties to the money loosing Natadole Integrated Tourism Project are examples that have contributed to the continued drop in investment level and investor confidence.
The number of overseas investments approved from 2006-08 dropped from 441, to 398 to 245.6 The value of the investments approved dropped from $1,015 millions to $495 millions to $405 millions. There is no data on actual investment implemented.7 At the same time, the Fiji economy continues on a steady decline. Following a huge drop of 6.6% in 2007 and the barely zero growth in 2008, GDP is again predicted for a huge decline of 2.5% in 2009.
In dollar terms, the people of Fiji have lost $800 million in national income because of the above failures with an equivalent loss of $200 million of tax revenue and potential expenditure to the Government.9 I am highlighting these major points and red flags to highlight that it would be irresponsible and absurd on your part to allow this illegal government the loan they are requesting. The state of Fiji’s economy since the illegal regime forced themselves into government speaks volume of the people managing it and we the people of Fiji have not given any of them our endorsement, in a general election, to manage our national economy nor negotiate this huge loan on our behalf.
I have no doubt at all that the IMF and the World Bank are well equipped to identify a bad deal when presented with one. While not trying to lecture, I would like to highlight that a basic loan assessment would take into consideration the level of expertise and background of those proposing the loan. I do not think that people of questionable background such as the illegal Finance Minister/Prime Minister (failed to matriculate and a high school dropout), an Attorney General with limited practical court time and a Finance Permanent Secretary with a shady background qualifies as a group of expertise who could be entrusted with $500 million US Dollars.
Therefore, we demand that the proposed widespread reform be put on hold and be left to an elected government because the whole reform process currently underway seriously lack our input as the silent majority.
As a citizen of Fiji and the head of a Movement that represents the Citizens of Fiji who want the restoration of democracy and freedom, I demand to know what kind of collateral is being proposed as security for this loan? We are very concerned because it will be the people of Fiji and their children and grand children who will end up paying in the years to come.
Finally, I wish to firstly, appeal that you please refrain from dealing with this tin pot dictatorship as it does not represent our people. Secondly, to refrain from accepting arguably the biggest national debt ever to be proposed in Fiji’s modern history because it is being proposed by an illegal government that does not represent those who will be paying back this loan if approved?
Please note that the silent uninformed majority of the people of Fiji have not been consulted nor are they aware of this proposed loan."
The letter is signed Usaia P. Waqatairewa ASA, BBus(CSturt), PGD(Macq)
National President - Australia