FijiFirst MP Sachida Nand criticised the Coalition Government in his maiden speech in the Fiji Parliament today.
Whilst acknowledging the government for the allocation to agriculture, the biggest provision to the sector in a long time, cautioned the Coalition Government on their delivery. He also criticised the 6% increase in VAT on non-zero rated items and the delay in the appointment of the Electoral Commission, which resulted in his delayed return to parliament.
Nand who received 530 votes in the 2022 General Election, equating to 0.26% of FijiFirst’s total votes and 0.1% of total valid votes cast in the 2022 General Election, said the delay in his appointment meant that he not only “missed parliament sittings, but also have been deprived the opportunity to voice the concerns” of his voters.
He urged the coalition government to “…stop whinging and get on with the work”, and work with FijiFirst for the betterment of the people and the nation.
Highlighting the importance of agriculture as a source of livelihood, Nand said that while the allocation to the sector seemed promising, actual delivery was a different matter, and rural communities heavily relied on agriculture.
On the increase in VAT from 9% to 15%, he said the coalition government only made “life more miserable” for a lot of people.
Nand joined parliament as a replacement for FijiFirst leader and former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. Bainimarama was suspended for three years in mid-February this year, after breaching parliamentary privilege, before resigning less than three weeks later. This is not the first time Nand has joined parliament as a replacement, as he previously filled a vacancy in August 2021. He replaced Mere Vuniwaqa who resigned.