The National Federation Party mourns the sad and untimely passing away of its stalwart and NFP Lautoka Branch President Mr Vishwa Nadan (JP), who was called to eternal rest on Saturday 31st October 2015.
Since his retirement from the Fiji Police Force in 2000, Mr Nadan became an ardent and active member of the NFP. He contested the general elections in 2001 under the NFP banner. He was the President of the Party’s Lautoka Branch for the last ten years, except for 8 months from February to October 2013 when he served as the General Secretary and on the Management Board of NFP.
Mr Nadan resigned as General Secretary of the Party because he prioritized social, community work and service to our ordinary people above administrative duties. And secondly he wanted to be actively involved in revamping the Party’s activities at Branch level in preparedness for the 2014 general elections.
This decision demonstrated Mr Nadan’s care and concern for the well-being of our ordinary citizens and secondly for the operation of the party at Branch level.
The NFP has lost an honest member whose dedication and commitment to the ideals of the Party and to the principles of accountability, transparency and adherence to the rule of law was extra-ordinary.
We pray that God grants Mr Nadan’s family the courage to overcome this irreplaceable loss.
The funeral service will be held at the Girmit Centre, Lautoka tomorrow (Thursday 05th November) from 10.30am as per program below:
10.30am: Funeral Cortege arrives at Girmit Centre
10.30-12.30pm: Funeral Service
12.30pm: Funeral Cortege departs for Lovu Crematorium.
1.00pm: Final Rites
The Order Paper for the Budget Sitting 2016 on Friday, 06 November is available for viewing and/or download here:
The 2014 Auditor General’s reports will be tabled after the Budget is presented.
A number of consequential bills related to the Budget will be fast-tracked under Standing Order 51.
LOWEST FINAL PAYMENT IN HISTORY
The Executive Chairman of Fiji Sugar Corporation Abdul Khan has deliberately misled and deceived cane growers and the people of Fiji about the final cane payment for the 2014 season.
The final cane payment for the 2014 season is not 71 cents that was paid out last Friday but actually THIRTY CENTS (30 cents) per tonne of cane. This is proven from the FSC’s growers statement of accounts provided to growers before every cane payment.
The additional 41 cents is the growers’ 70% share of proceeds from the liquidation of Fiji Sugar Marketing in 2009. Therefore this makes the 30 cents final payment the lowest in history. It is 7 cents lower than the 37 cents per tonne paid in 2010. The 41 cents added to the final payment was based on the total cane crop crushed for 2009, which was 2.247 million tonnes. The distribution of 41 cents was based on the total tonnage of 2,247 million in 2009.
This also means that new growers or contract holders who entered the industry from 2010 did not receive the 41 cents per tonne but were only paid 30 cents. This is a fact. On Saturday 31st October Mr Abdul Khan (in a page 3 report of the Fiji Times) accused the NFP of making statements without any real facts to support it. The NFP does not believe in making rhetorical statements.
Statements of account provided by FSC to growers provided by the FSC obtained by the NFP clearly shows what is the truth. Surely Mr Khan as the authority responsible for the payment cannot be oblivious to this fact. The statements of three different growers show the same thing: –
“ .41 (41 cents) FSM (Fiji Sugar Marketing)
“.308 (30 cents) Final Payments”
* The three statements of three different growers (names & farm numbers erased to protect their identities) are enclosed with our media release.
Therefore Mr Khan must answer why is he lying about that the lowest final or (wash-up payment according to him) was 37 cents in 2010? Why cannot he plainly tell the truth that the final payment of 30 cents for 2014 is the lowest ever?
Why is he lying that 71 cents was the “wash-up” payment? Why is he hiding the fact that 41 cents was the growers’ share of proceeds from the liquidation of Fiji Sugar Marketing (FSM) in 2009 – some 6 years ago?
The question also arises as to why weren’t the proceeds from FSM liquidation paid to growers in 2010? What was the total share of proceeds of growers from the liquidation? How much interest was earned on the total sum for the last 6 years?
Based on the total production of 2.247 million tonnes for 2009 the total payout from liquidation to growers was $921,270. Growers have a right to know whether this is the principal sum or includes interest accrued for 6 years.
These are fundamental issues that need honest answers. Mr Khan must also stop lying and deceiving growers. The problem is that growers have no say in the marketing of sugar with all powers vested in the executive chairman of FSC.
This is the sad and unmistakable reality.
Prof Biman Prasad
Transcript of interview (please check against audio):
“CEO, Fiji Cane Growers Association: They are really upset about this because they were expecting they would get at least 6,7 dollars per tonne but when they hear they are only going to receive 71 cents per tonne, its shocking news to the farmers because they have the festive season, they have Diwali and whatever money they had with them they spent in harvesting. Because you know when the crushing season ends then a lot of money is used for harvesting and delivery payments and so on and so forth. So whatever money they had, they used their money for hiring labourers and cartage and the rest of the money which is used for catering the cost.
Pacific Beat: There had been high hopes for a good cane harvest at the start of the season?
CEO, Fiji Cane Growers Association: You’re right in that because we know that we were expecting a very good price and what we were getting from FSC is that we will be getting a good price. That’s why the farmers took interest in planting and replanting of cane. And the other thing we can see is that the TCTS (inaudible) has improved. So if the TCTS (inaudible) has improved and the cane quality has improved, then I don’t see any reason why the cane price should be going down. Instead if the TCTS (inaudible) improved then the price of the cane should be going up.
Pacific Beat: The Opposition National Federation Party which is particularly strong in the cane belt of Viti Levu has put out a press release estimating that the total earnings for 9,000 average growers for the entire season excluding harvesting, delivery and production would be a meagre 5,400 Fiji dollars paid over 16 months effectively leaving cane farmers penniless. Is that estimate accurate?
CEO, Fiji Cane Growers Association: Yeah they are. Because if you get that figure we exactly come to know that the majority of the farmers are living below the poverty line. So you can just imagine the struggle and the hardship that the farmers are facing because cartage has gone up, the fuel price is also high and harvesting is very high, very expensive. So its very difficult to get the mechanical harvesters and if we hire the labourers they just don’t want to harvest the cane at a lesser price because what they were harvesting for 13, 14 dollars now they demanding 20 dollars or more than 20 dollars even. Once the farmers come to know before the crushing season begins the actual price, then they would think twice about replanting and planting of cane. But the main problem is that after they delivered their cane, then only they come to know that what price they’ll be given.
Pacific Beat: Is this anyone’s fault in particular? Or is just a problem with commodity prices worldwide falling?
CEO, Fiji Cane Growers Association: Well actually this is an ongoing problem with the farmers for a long – we have been insisting the FSC, the Sugar Cane Growers Council and other stakeholders to let the farmers know the actual price before the crushing season starts or even 2, 3 years before they should be able to inform the farmers what particular price they will be getting. But assurances are given to the farmers before the crushing start that he’ll be given a good price. But if you are getting 80, 81 dollars per tonne that’s not a good price. Because to my calculation more than 50 dollars a tonne is the overall cost for the farmers to produce cane and send it to the mill. The operational cost is much more than 50 dollars.
Pacific Beat: Why would anyone remain a cane farmer if their costs are going to be as much as what they get. That doesn’t make any rational sense?
CEO, Fiji Cane Growers Association: Well they don’t have any other option. Simple as that. Because the farmers especially in the Northern Division, in the Western Division they don’t have any other choice. They just relying on the sugar cane industry. If they just go out of the sugar cane industry they don’t have any other way of survival. That’s the only reason they preferring to stay on sugar industry but you know the younger generations are already moving out of the industry and to my thinking, the generation which is already in the sugar industry is the last generation which is going to stay there.”