The National Federation Party says Attorney General and Minister for Economy is shortchanging cane growers with the $85 guaranteed price for a tonne of sugarcane by revealing that any earning from the sale of sugar proceeds that is more than $85 per tonne of cane will not be paid to growers.
NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad says the AG has made a mockery of growers by trying to concoct a policy after NFP announced a sound, sensible and practical solution of implementing a minimum guaranteed price of $100 per tonne for four years from the 2018 season.
Our policy means growers are assured assured of receiving not less than $100 per tonne of cane. And if sugar is sold at a high price on thew world market, growers will receive more than $100 if growers’ share of proceeds is more”.
“ The AG’s revelation during budget consultation in Ba over the weekend also means a blatant breach of the sugar Master Award in respect of the sharing of proceeds formula between growers and Fiji Sugar Corporation.
“It wil be illegal to retain proceeds in the so-called stablisation fund to ensure growers get a guaranteed price of $85 a tonne”.
“It means that growers will end up topping up their payment themselves. This is betrayal of the cane growers”.
“The Bainimaama regime and the current Government has run down the sugar industry in the last 12 years to an extent that our total cane and sugar production is almost half of what it was before the 2006 coup”.
Professor Prasad said the AG’s statement on the Fiji First Government’s budgetary policy on cane price is similar to the Parental Assistance Programme where a mother receives an upfront payment of $500 with another $500 to be given when the child enters Year One six years later.
“This means a meagre $83.33 for six years. It is a sham. NFP’s policy of removing VAT from 15 basic food items and prescription medicine, as well as reduction of duty will result in a person saving $20 per week or $1,200 a year”.
“The AG’s latest revelation confirms the shambolic nature of implementation of policies by the Fiji First Government”.