Two Lawyers Join NFP

Two lawyers have joined the National Federation Party to contest the September 17 general elections under the NFP banner.

The latest inclusion of both lawyers brings to 45 the number of candidates announced so far to contest the elections. This number would have been 48 had not been for the Electoral Amendment Decree’s definition of “ordinarily resident”.

On Tuesday two of the Party’s prominent candidates Makereta Waqavonovono and Jone Vakalalabure had to withdraw their candidacy as a result of the decree. Former national rugby union representative and former teacher Seru Rabeni stepped aside after being endorsed and slated for announcement on Tuesday for the same reason.

The candidates announced today are: –

1               Semi Titoko

Simi Titoko outside

Born in Nalawa Ra, Semi Titoko is a lawyer operating the firm of Qarcia Barristers & Solicitors at Vaileka.

Mr Titoko was employed in the Judiciary for 8 years between 1992 and 2000. He worked in Nadi and Suva Magistrates Court and the High Court at Lautoka.

He was then a private law student at the University of the South Pacific between 2003 and 2008. He has been practicing as a lawyer since 2009.

Mr Titoko has been approached by the chiefs of Ra to be the voice of Ra people in Parliament. The chiefs have endorsed his decision to contest the elections under the NFP’s banner.

Mr Titoko is eager to be part of Team NFP for the future of Fiji.

2.         Siddiq Faizal Koya

Inside Faizal Koya

Siddiq Faizal Koya, born in Lautoka but now a resident of Nadi, is a barrister and solicitor with Siddiq Koya Lawyers.

Mr Koya graduated with an Honours Law degree from the University of Wolverhampton in United Kingdom. He also served as a magistrate.

Mr Koya has a record of service; as the legal advisor to the Rotary Club of Nadi, Speaker of Fiji Muslim League and Speaker of MA’natul Islam Association. He takes keen interest in youth and sports development and is a strong advocate against animal cruelty.

He believes that authoritarian government anywhere in the world is not good governance and that educated young people need to take the nation forward in contrast to those leaders who have polarized the nation on various issues.

His father, Siddiq Moidin Koya, was one of the founders of NFP in 1963 as Deputy leader to A D Patel. Mr Koya succeeded Mr Patel as NFP leader after Mr Patel’s death in October 1969 and also took over responsibility of negotiating Fiji’s Independence from Great Britain together with Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

NFP’S RESPONSE TO DR REDDY’S ANTI VAT REDUCTION CAMPAIGN

National Federation Party categorically DISAGREES with the following claims by Fiji First candidate Mahendra Reddy and the Fiji First Party

 

Claim 1: VAT will not provide relief to the poor

• It is true that VAT is zero on tinned fish, flour and sharps, powdered milk, edible oil, rice and tea. However, a typical poor household does not only consume these items. A typical basket for any poor household also includes consumption of electricity bill, water bill, mobile phone recharge, frozen meat, bread, processed food such as noodles, transportation and entertainment.

• Rich consume more fresh meat products (such as fish, goat, chicken) while poor totally depend on supermarket for meat (tuna, lamb neck, frozen meat).

 
Claim 2: Reducing VAT from 15% to 10% will reduce VAT revenue by 33%

• It does not necessarily mean that reducing VAT by 5% will reduce VAT revenue by 33%. VAT is a consumption based tax. As prices go down after VAT reduction, consumption expenditure is bound to increase which will also increase the tax base. The revenue that would have come to the government will now go to into the pockets of the people.

• It should also be noted that between 2012 and 2014, VAT revenue increased by F$160m. During this time, there was no increase in VAT rate. This is evident that VAT revenue is not totally dependent on the VAT rate but the rate of economic activity as well.

 

Claim 3: Reduction in VAT will reduce government expenditure on roads and hospitals

• NFP does not see any connection between VAT revenue and the expenditure to provide good roads and quality health services to our people. The statement by the Fiji First Party is totally flawed. NFP will be guided by a medium to long term infrastructure plan for our roads and hospitals.

• NFP will reduce wastage of government financing through efficient checks and balances and ensure the productive use of government revenue.

 
Dr Sunil Kumar
NFP Spokesperson:
Economy, Finance & Trade

NFP Newest Candidates

Party announces new candidates

Dawn Gibson
Wednesday, August 06, 2014

THE National Federation Party yesterday announced four more candidates to contest the September election.

The four names announced were former Ministry of Trade and Commerce employee Simione Naituku, Justice of the Peace Deven Magan, Pino Venasio — a history and politics undergraduate student at USP who hails from Rotuma, and NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad himself.

Mr Naituku believes that “powerful, courageous and visionary leadership” is needed to uplift the economy and combat poverty and unemployment in Fiji.

“Mr Magan has an active involvement in social work. He served as a Suva City Councillor for 20 years from 1999 to 2009 until all municipal councils were dissolved by decree by this government,” Mr Prasad said yesterday.

Mr Venasio, who hails from Juju in Rotuma, joined NFP to highlight social, political and economic advancement on Rotuma.

“This brings to 45 the total number of candidates announced so far to contest the election under the NFP banner,” Mr Prasad said.

“However, this number is being reduced to 43 following the promulgation of the Electoral Amendment Decree last week (Decree No. 26), stipulating residency period contrary to common understanding and past electoral legislation.”

He said while there would have been 45 candidates, recent penalties placed upon now former candidates Makereta Waqavonovono and Jone Vakalalabure have reduced NFP’s candidate number to 43.

“It is regrettable that this has resulted in the withdrawal of two of our competent and highly qualified candidates who have been penalised by this amendment decree.”

Ms Waqavonovono is a lawyer, former magistrate and former director of the Legal Aid Commission. She recently studied for a Masters degree in Australia. Mr Vakalalabure also recently returned from Australia with a Masters Degree in International Relations.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=276479

National Federation Party Condemns Electoral Decree Amendment

The National Federation Party condemns in the strongest terms, the amendment to the electoral decree issued last week with regard to who is “ordinarily resident” in Fiji to qualify to stand for elections.

The amendment has ruled out two of the party’s leading candidates from standing in the upcoming general elections, Ms. Makereta Waqavonovono and Mr. Jone Vakalalabure.

These two highly qualified Fiji islanders would have been two of the best parliamentarians to have served our country.

This is the calibre of Fiji islanders that our country needs to take Fiji onto another level of service to the public.

Yet the interim administration sees it fit to disqualify them for being away acquiring higher professional skills that would have served our country greatly through parliament.

The process of amending the decree last week was just as bad as the substance of the amendment.

The amendment was from the office of the Attorney General whose most senior lawyer was representing the defendants in litigation before the high court.

Litigation brought by Ms. Waqavonovono asking the court for constitutional and human right redress with regard to her eligibility to stand for elections.

And as we all know, the AG is also general secretary of a rival political party and one of the defendants in that litigation as Minister responsible for the Elections.

It is a matter of grave concern that a defendant in live proceedings, who happens to be AG as well general secretary of a rival political party and Minister Responsible for Elections and the Electoral Decree, be allowed to change electoral rules by decree, weeks away from the elections.

It is also very disrespectful to the Court.

The party also expresses great concern that while the matter of the litigation was live before a Judge of the high court, the Chief Justice signed the amendment decree as Acting President of Fiji.

The National Federation Party is not taking this issue of disenfranchisement by decree lightly. The party will be exploring its options further.

After eight years, the people of Fiji deserve, at the very least – free and fair elections. One that is free of interventions by decree from one of the parties contesting those elections.

 

Kamal Iyer
General Secretary

MORE CANDIDATES FOR NFP

The National Federation Party has today announced four more candidates to contest the September 17 general elections.

This brings to 45, the total number of candidates announced so far to contest the elections under the NFP banner. However, this number is being reduced to 43 following the promulgation of the Electoral Amendment Decree last week (Decree No. 26), stipulating residency period contrary to common understanding and past electoral legislations.

It is regrettable that this has resulted in the withdrawal of two of our competent and highly qualified candidates who have been penalized by this amendment Decree. They are Makereta Waqavonovono, a lawyer, former magistrate and former Director of Legal Aid Commission, and Jone Vakalalabure who has a Masters in International Relations.

Civil servants should stop doing government’s bidding

Senor civil servants are blatantly politicking via the media by doing bidding for Government whose leadership and ministers are contesting the elections under the banner of Fiji First.

The latest example of civil servants publicly indulging in politics was on “4 the Record” programme on Fiji Broadcasting Commission Television on Sunday night. The guests on the programme were the Permanent Secretary for Finance Filimone Waqabaca, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji Arif Ali and Chief Executive of Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) Jitoko Tikolevu.

While responding to a leading question from a journalist on the panel, Mr Tikolevu said a reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) would have little impact on the price of goods. Mr Tikolevu, in dismissing the issue of VAT reduction, went onto to say even an increase in VAT to 20% would be insignificant.

It is quite clear that Mr Tikolevu was trying to rubbish the National Federation Party’s promise to reduce VAT from 15% to 10%, that has been consistently advocated by the Leader and the Party for the last four months.

As a senior public servant, Mr Tikolevu should know his role is only to implement Government policies. Their role is to implement Government policies. And this includes any Government that comes into power after the September 17 general elections.

By commenting on a policy proposed by a political party, in this case explained in detail in the NFP’s manifesto, Mr Tikolevu has totally compromised the neutrality and independence of his position as FRCA Head as well as that of the Institution. He should have remained apolitical and completely refrained from making political comments. A ordinary civil servant is disallowed from even to be seen at political party meetings or gatherings as it is construed as showing support towards a political party.

FRCA is an Independent Institution. Unfortunately, Mr Tikolevu has given it a semblance of a political wing of Government and the Fiji First Party.

Also Mr Waqabaca commented that he was on the programme because of what he called “misleading statements about the economy”. Instead of politicking, Mr Waqabaca must tell the people of Fiji what is the real state Government finances and the proposal in the 2014 Budget to rake revenue through sale of State assets.

The NFP once again calls upon officers in all independent state institutions to remain apolitical at all times. We also warn that by indulging in political campaign, senior public servants are showing their political bias and tarnishes their credibility and suitability to hold similar senior positions following a change of government and restoration of democracy after the elections.

Kamal Iyer

General Secretary

Speech by Professor Biman Prasad, Leader of NFP at the launch of the National Federation Party 2014 General Election Manifesto

Speech by Professor Biman Prasad, Leader of NFP at the launch of the National Federation Party 2014 General Election Manifesto, 21 July, 2014, Khastriya Hall, Suva

After 8 years of military rule on September 17 the people of Fiji will have the long denied opportunity to decide which political party should form our Government. In deciding how to cast your vote, I appeal to you to carefully consider the following: Which party puts the nation ahead of the self-interest of its leaders? Which party can be trusted to rebuild our democracy? Which Party has a solid economic plan to create stable and well-paying jobs? Which Party has a plan to reduce the price of food, medicine and transport? Which Party has a credible plan to help our country to avoid the pain and suffering of further coups?

LAUNCH OF NFP MANIFESTO, GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

Fellow Fiji Islanders, Party supporters, workers, volunteers, stalwarts and, invited guests. I have great pleasure in welcoming you too this evening to the launch of our party Manifesto for the 2014 General Elections.

I will speak in both the English and Fijian language today.

Since our election at the end of March, the party leader and i have travelled around the country and met very many people to gauge your views, leading up to the elections.

NFP ANNOUNCES 8 MORE CANDIDATES IN SUVA

A former magistrate, a women’s advocate, a renowned academic and a senior corporate executive are amongst the latest batch of 7 candidates to be endorsed by the National Federation Party to contest the September 17 general elections. The latest announcement follows 6 endorsements in Ba and Lautoka over the weekend and brings the total number of candidates endorsed by the NFP so far to 37.

 

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Address by the leader of the National Federation Party

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for the invitation to address you this afternoon.
I am very pleased to be here with Madam President Ms Tupou Draunidalo. Thank you for this honour.
Many of you who have left the shores of Fiji after 1987, 2000 and 2006 probably still feel aggrieved, hurt and probably bitter about the circumstances under which you had to leave our birth place and made homes in this great country.