What $756m upgrade? | Ditoka: Bainimarama’s claim not reflected on the ground

Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management, Sakiasi Ditoka in Suva on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Where has all the money gone? Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Minister Sakiasi Ditoka said this of former prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s boast that his government invested more than $756 million to develop eight provinces in the country.

In an interview in June last year, the former PM said the FijiFirst government spent $43m on Serua, $46m in Namosi, $75m on Nadroa-Navosa, $79m on Cakaudrove, $250m in Bua, $31.5m in Lau and $126.3m in Lomaiviti.

He said the funds were spent on providing the best healthcare by upgrading hospitals, roads, water and electricity.

In an interview on The Fiji Times online program, The Lens @ 177, this newspaper asked him of the Coalition Government’s situation in the five months since it has taken office. Mr Ditoka said Mr Bainimarama’s comments were not supported by the reality on the ground.

“I mean, look at CWM (Colonial War Memorial) Hospital and look at some of the divisional hospitals,” Mr Ditoka said.

“The public can tell us the truth. They can come back to us with feedback and tell us some of what the former prime minister might have mentioned is not quite true.

“Well, they might have used that amount of money, but the question remains — where has it gone?

“I mean, if he’s talking about those kinds of amounts, then really, we should see the results on the ground,” Mr Ditoka said.

“But unfortunately, that’s not the case here.

“That’s exactly why we need to bring this IRDF (Integrated Rural Development Framework) into place, so we can see what everyone is doing because it looks like a lot of money has been spent but a lot of duplication of effort has been happening and the effects are very visible.”

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