Following his recent visits to the Provincial Councils, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has been left with the distinct impression that the people want his administration to continue in office, deferring general elections well beyond 2014.
Nay, the feedback is even more positive. People are very happy with what his government is doing and have told him to defer elections in 2014.
Well, certainly, more than three years of the Bainimarama administration has left Fiji with an unprecedented record of national performance.
• a 20% devaluation of the dollar has sent food prices sky rocketing with inflation running close to a record 10%; prices of almost all other goods and services have escalated
• poverty levels are at a record high of 45% of the population, expected to rise to 60% or so by year 2014
• State treasury is almost depleted and it is scrounging around for loans to carry out urgent infrastructure development with the State’s debt levels and contingent liabilities already running at 70% of the GDP
• The IMF questions the administration’s ability to repay its loans at a time when it is seeking to borrow $1b from the Fund
• liquidity in the banking system is so high ( a sure sign of low investor confidence!) that the RBF has been forced to mop up by raising to 10% the level of Statutory Reserve Deposit for banks – the second increase within a month
• FNPF has certainly boosted people’s confidence in the future sustainability of their pension funds by writing down some $328 million of their hard earned moneys; the fact that many are now worried sick as to whether, between the scandalous write-downs and huge lendings to a cash-strapped government, they will have a liveable pension in their old age is another story!
• Other key State institutions are in serious financial difficulties
- FSC is insolvent and is running on borrowed money and government guarantees; it has borrowed more than $100m so far this year and can hardly meet its loan repayment to the Exim Bank of India; half the cane sent to the sugar mills are going to waste due to chronic mill malfunctioning
- FEA is also virtually insolvent, unable to meet its loan repayments; as a result people are now paying as much as 93% more for electricity
- Air Pacific is facing stiff competition on its international routes, registering losses at about $36m for the past financial year
- Post Fiji is another financial liability and is up for sale;
• Public Emergency Regulations - in force for the past 15 months has been the [m]ost oppressive and draconian the people of Fiji have ever experienced – the State is sailing blissfully through in the knowledge that it can’t be criticised, opposed or condemned as a result of the censorship imposed on the Media; it cannot be legally challenged because of a compromised judiciary; draconian criminal and media laws ensure the subjects of the Commodore dare not step out of line.
Yes, all is truly well and happy within the State of Fiji.
The Commodore can now give legitimacy to the people’s call to further defer elections by confidently putting it to a national referendum.-Source Fiji Labour Party website