Cane payment question disallowed

Opposition members of Parliament Prof Biman Prasad and Pio Tikoduadua make their way to the Parliament sitting yesterday. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

The National Federation Party says it is “disappointed” it wasn’t allowed to quiz Sugar Minister and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Parliament about short payments to canefarmers for the 2019 sugar season.

NFP leader Prof Biman Prasad said he had filed a question, calling for an explanation on the 67 cents per tonne deduction from last week’s cane payment but his question was disallowed by the Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

Prof Prasad said he had filed the question in the hope it would be included in next week’s order paper.

The NFP leader claimed canegrowers had been short-changed $1.21 million from the fourth cane payment for the 2019 season after 67 cents per tonne was deducted.

“We wish to inform growers that our question to the prime minister to explain why growers have been short-changed was ruled out by Parliament,” he said.

“Therefore, we are unable to raise this in the highest court of the land and hold Government to account on this issue.”

Prof Prasad said the decision to take the issue to Parliament arose because NFP felt Fiji Sugar Corporation CEO Graham Clark offered an “erroneous” explanation about the deduction.

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