NFP Leader Claims Government’s Dialysis is a broken promise

The National Federation Party says the Fiji First Government has miserably failed to fulfil its promise of providing funding for subsidised kidney dialysis to patients from low income families in three Divisions as announced in its budget last year.

The Party says kidney patients from families with combined annual income of less than $20,000  in the Western, Central Divisions and Eastern Divisions are being denied subsidised dialysis, with the only exception being the Northern Division.

NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad also claims that the Party  has also established that the sole nephrologist in the country  Dr Amreesh Krishnan has resigned his position as a Consultant and the Head of the Nephrology Department at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital apparently  because of frustrating delays in the construction of the kidney specialist centre in Tamavua.

“Kidney patients from families with a combined income of less than $20,000 should have been eligible to have dialysis three times a week at a subsidised cost of $75 per session because Government had announced last year they would now reduce the cost of dialysis from as high as $250 per session”.

“Instead Government would provide dialysis at a cost of $150 at its hospitals and the new kidney centre but would subsidise treatment for patients from families with combined annual income of less than $20,000 per annum”.

“We have established that dialysis is being done at a cost of $150 per session at Labasa Hospital only and patients in the North from  families with incomes of less than $20,000 are being provided subsidised dialysis at a cost of $75 per session”.

“This means that patients from poor families in the Western, Central and Eastern Divisions are paying between $200 and $250 per session for dialysis to stay alive. This is unacceptable”.

“Earlier this year, the Health Minister told Parliament in response to a query from NFP Parliamentarian Lenora Qereqeretabua that a dialysis centre would open soon at Nadera.  But this hasn’t happened”.

“Similarly, Government is silent on how it intends to provide subsidised dialysis to patients in the Western  and Eastern Divisions”.

“Likewise, there is no word on why the completion of construction and equipping of the kidney centre at Tamavua is long overdue”.

“We are being inundated with pleas of help from relatives of patients with low incomes who go around trying to raise funds for their expensive treatment. We have ben reliably told that health professionals forced to use their salaries to fund treatment for emergency cases”.

“All government does is to issue permits for fundraising for dialysis instead of providing facilities for subsidised dialysis”.

“This leads us to seriously question whether government’s announcement in its budget last year  was an election gimmick following NFP’s announcement in July 2017 of providing free dialysis to all patients from families with less than $30,000 annual income”.

“We made this pledge following government’s repeated rejection of our motions to get it to increase budgetary allocation for dialysis from a meagre $300,000 to at least $3million”.

“But this government has left kidney patients to fend for themselves and in most cases forego  the normal requirement of three sessions a week and have only one dialysis treatment due to exorbitant costs”.

“And now we see the sole qualified nephrologist quitting the public healthcare and medical sector.”

“All this is a result of yet another broken promise by his patchwork Fiji First government”.

Nfp Questions Rarawai Mill Upgrade

Mill fiasco

The National Federation Party is asking the Fiji Sugar Corporation to reveal the truth about the state of preparedness of the Rarawai Sugar Mill which was barely operational for almost week since its since its launch of crushing more than 9 days ago on 9th July. NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad said despite a $9.3 million upgrade, the mill had crushed around 3,000 tonnes of cane until yesterday morning in a period of over 6 days till Monday.

Professor Prasad said while the mill finally started operating late Monday, the NFP was extremely concerned about the first six days of crushing that has caused huge losses to growers and growers. He claimed FSC was now behaving like the CSR (Colonial Sugar Refining Co Ltd), “hiding information even from the Tribunal about the lack of state of preparedness of the mill”. “The capacity of the mill is to crush around 5,000 tonnes of cane in a 24 hour period. But we believe it crushed about 3,000 tonnes in the last six days until Monday (15 July) morning”. “Therefore what was FSC Chief Executive Officer bragging about the efficient operation of the mill this season and the $9.3 million upgrade when he launched the start of crush last Tuesday (9 July)?” “ We also ask the FSC to reveal the truth on whether it defied the advice of the Rarawai mill management who had clearly stated that the mill wasn’t ready to start”. “In displaying their arrogance to show they knew what they were doing, the FSC CEO and his executive management team have caused severe losses to cane growers who had hired cane cutters and were forced to incur additional expenditure in contingency to provide for the cane cutters when the mill stopped crushing a few hours after the launch”.

“ As a result majority of the cane that was harvested had to be carted to Lautoka mill from the districts of Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki”. “While cane laden on lorries were taken to Lautoka and dumped before the cane started to dry, growers carting cane through rail network especially in Tavua have suffered further losses because of lengthy delays in hauling the laden rail carts to the mill”. “This is because cane laden on rail carts started to dry up after 2 days. And FSC won’t take responsibility to compensate the affected growers for loss of tonnage”. “We also ask why didn’t FSC carry out trials before start of crush as has been done before. FSC used to harvest and crush cane from its own estates for the pre-season trials before informing the Sugar Industry Tribunal about the state of preparedness of its mills”.

“In the case of Rarawai it would mean that FSC misled the Tribunal and other stakeholders especially growers by declaring Rarawai was ready for crushing”. “We also believe FSC has now engaged the services of experts from Australia to try and fix the ills plaguing Rarawai mill. This is wastage of funds that a technically insolvent FSC can ill-afford”. “ There is no use for FSC to hide behind the reason of it being a teething problem that it normally states. This is totally unacceptable”. “And while growers are suffering from this fiasco, the silence from the Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar is deafening”.

A Public Relations Disaster

National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad says Government’s handling of the mysterious death of the USA couple has been a public relations disaster.

Professor Prasad said Government’s public utterances on the tragedy created a public perception, especially in the minds of the couple’s families in USA that Government was devoid of any compassion and humanitarianism.

“Almost two months after the couple’s death, Government finally informed the couple’s families this week that their bodies would be repatriated”.

“This is after saying that they were going to cremate the husband as his body was rapidly decomposing”.

“This is despite the fact that their bodies were embalmed and ready to repatriated”.

“Undoubtedly, this has been a huge public relations disaster and will impact the tourism industry, particularly visitor numbers from the United States”.

“Once again Government’s taxpayers funded Qorvis communications, which has received millions of dollars over the past years, has failed to prevent this colossal failure of a patchwork government”

Authorised by NFP Leader, Biman Prasad

Bulitavu racially slurring Indo-Fijian women

July 5, 2019

SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu is racially slurring and demeaning Indo-Fijian women with his insulting comment that accuses rural Indo-Fijian women of committing adultery and therefore being murdered by their husbands.

This is reprehensible and despicable. As a lawyer Mr Bulitavu is trying to blame Indo-Fijian women for the heinous crime of murder, which he claims has spread to the i-Taukei community.

And he also goes onto to blame i-Taukei women for getting beaten up by their husbands who escape punishment because of the culture of bulubulu.

This is shameful. He has insulted our hardworking women – our mothers, daughters and sisters. He should hang his head in shame and publicly apologise to all women whose morality, character and credibility he has attacked.

Racial slurs and malicious attacks have no place in our society. At a time when every effort is being made for the social, economic and political advancement of women, Mr Bulitavu’s comment raises serious questions about his intention to racially denigrate women.

Authorised by:

Professor Biman Prasad

Leader

NFP Leader Hits out at efl ceo

“FACTS DON’T LIE”

The National Federation Party says Energy Fiji Limited Chief Executive Officer Hasmukh Patel is deliberately misleading the nation to seek a substantial hike in electricity tariff in a bid to attract a buyer for the company and help boost revenue for the cash-strapped government.

NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad said Mr Patel’s statement that EFL had lost $100 million as a result of a reduction in tariffs was a lie.

“Because if it were the truth that Mr Patel wants the people of Fiji to believe, then he should do the honourable thing and resign as the company would have made such a huge loss under his leadership despite substantially increasing its revenue”.

“Who is he trying to fool? The Annual Reports from 2010-2018 of Fiji Electricity Authority and EFL clearly portray a different picture of the company making profits and paying dividend to government”.

“Even  Mr Patel, as CEO of FEA and later EFL is bragging about the profits in the Annual Reports  from 2010 to 2018 that we have perused”.

Professor Prasad said proof of what he was saying is Mr Patel’s   statement in the EFL Annual Report of 2018  when it made a staggering profit of $63.9 million and even paid a $20 million dividend to government from its 2017 profits.

Mr Patel said, “ It’s hard to imagine a better start for our newly-corporatised entity, Energy Fiji Limited, than a record third-straight year of over $70 million in gross profits for the company. After taxes, our net profit for 2018 stands at $63.9 million, a figure that keeps us well on track to deliver on our ambitious agenda to raise quality and access to affordable energy for the Fijian people”.

“But what should make us all most proud in 2018 is that this year was an historic year for the electrification of rural communities across the country. EFL spent a record $16.4 million to electrify rural communities, developing 86 rural electrification schemes for the benefit of over 2,600 Fijian households”.