Savenaca Narube insists addressing Fiji’s poverty situation should be the number one agenda for any party contesting the 2022 General Elections and believes that no other political grouping, but his Unity Fiji party is well-placed to resolve it.
To tackle poverty, the former governor of Reserve Bank of Fiji and permanent secretary Finance/Economy says economic activity that is beneficial to everyone needs to be created, an issue he says he is most familiar with, backed by his expertise in public finance, a macroeconomist and policy strategist spanning more than three decades in the Pacific, during which he served stints with international financial institutions including International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank and local financial bodies including the Fiji National Provident Fund, Fiji Revenue and Customs Services, and served as a director in several other entities including Fiji Sugar Corporation, Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) and Energy Fiji Limited (formerly Fiji Electricity Authority).
“We put in ourselves as unity Fiji as a party that knows how to deal with this, because I have done it already,” Narube said.
“I’ve done it in my career. I’m not here to learn. I’m here to share my experience in growing our economy, and that to us is what Unity Fiji is.”
“I emphasized that poverty is so prevalent in Fiji. Forty per cent of our people are living in poverty. This is ridiculous and should not be tolerated. And we need people that know how to manage that. We need to manage our economy we need to get more people employed we need to get our debt lower than where it is now. But we need to create economic activity that we can all benefit from.
“So that will be where we focus on to reduce poverty, increase job opportunities, look at our cost of living. reduce that. So that will be number one and second.”
He says Unity Fiji also underlined its know-how in the field by its formulation of an alternative budget, unlike the other contesting parties, to the ruling FijiFirst Fijian Government budget for two years in a row.
Education is another priority area for the party, given the opportunities it unlocks for youths and in doing so, the country at large, Narube said.
“We need to give that to all our youth. So, we’re going to review all education policies and review the scholarship structure.”
All these and more of the party’s policies, he adds will be reflected in its manifesto, which will also outline costing as provided for under the electoral laws.
Also critical in Fiji’s rejuvenation, according to Narube is having great leadership that is people-focused and not “taking care of their own pockets”, an aspect he says aligns with Unity Fiji principles.
“We need a leader that people can trust. We need a leader that has proven himself in what he or she has done. And I believe the members all proclaimed that unity Fiji has that leadership, and that leadership must be to serve the people. Our logo, as you see is people first.
“We are here to serve the people, not to serve ourselves, not to serve us. Enough of politicians going in there and taking care of their own pockets. Enough of that. We’ve seen that too much already. So, we unite in the pledge that we will serve other people.”
Meanwhile, the party held its AGM in Suva yesterday, attended by a spill-over crowd, that Narube says reflects not only a new growth and a step up from 2018, but also that people have come to believe in its principles.
“It is not the same old same old. We need this stage that we must implement this enough is enough of the things that we have tolerated up to now even well before this government came into place.”