Professor Wadan Narsey, 13 November 2013, says that the Bainimarama/Khaiyum budget illustrates what some governments do when elections are around the corner, when they want to give out “goodies” to voters, and they cannot “balance the books”.
Basically, khaiyum and bainimarama are desperate to win the next elections or they will be sent to prison, unless they carry-out another coup. In the meantime, they are offering all sorts of bribes in the form of "goodies" to entice gullible people over to their corner.
Prof Narsey says that the 2014 Budget has some good policies on education, health, social welfare and small and medium enterprises which the receiving public are extremely grateful for, as enthusiastically reported by the media. BUT the media has not been able to ask if Budget numbers are at all accurate given the absence of Auditor General Reports since 2006; how the “goodies” will be paid for; if some “goodies” are really good for the Fiji economy; and who is auditing the expenditure on the really big “goodies”.
In summary, Prof Narsey says that between 2012 and 2014 (2012 “Actuals” are given in the Budget Estimates) the Bainimarama Regime will:
- increase the Total Operating Expenditure by $371 millions.
- increase Capital Expenditure by $480 millions.
- increase Total Government Expenditure by $870 millions.
On the other hand, Total Operating Revenues (Direct and Indirect Taxes) is expected to increase by only $335 millions.
So the shortfall for 2014 will be made up by selling government assets to realize $478 millions, astonishingly labeled as “Investing Receipts” by the Budget Estimates.
This massive illegal sale of state assets will be the largest in Fiji’s history, and implemented by an unelected government. It essentially amounts to a farm selling off its most valuable assets, its milking cows, after they fail to squeeze enough milk out of them.
On the expenditure side, there is one relatively costly and clearly vote-buying measure (20% increase in public sector salaries), while an extremely large allocation (of more than $450 millions), continues to be made to the RTA with the public not being told if these large allocations are being audited by the Auditor General’s Office.
In addition, Prof Narsey also says that there isn't any reporting at all on any auditing of many state-owned enterprises such as Water Authority of Fiji, Fiji Airways or entities such as FNPF for which tax-payers have large contingent liability (this critical issue is not discussed here).
We contend that once all the good assets have been sold off, to Khaiyum's selected people who are willing to pay regular bribes in exchange for huge profits, then where will Fiji be?
Fiji will be left with crappy assets that are not profitable. So more borrowing of cheap Chinese loans will ensue, building an even bigger hole of DEBT for Fiji - that future generations, your children and grand children, will be forced to repay.
Read Prof Narsey's article here.