Chaudhry queries GP fee move

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry during an interview at his office. Picture: RAMA./FILE

YOU cannot use money contributed by the private sector for training purposes to pay for Fijians to visit the private doctor.

This is the view of Fiji Labour Party leader and former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

He made the comment in response to the announcement by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum that Government would use 50 per cent of the 1 per cent National Training and Productivity Centre levy to pay for private doctor consultation fees for every Fijian.

“This is bizarre,” Mr Chaudhry said.

“Businesses and companies who contribute towards the annual 1 per cent NTPC levy, do so with the understanding that it will be used for training.

“Using this money to pay for doctors’ fees is an unlawful act because it was not subjected to debate nor was approved in Parliament. “We are questioning the timing of the announcement.”

The A-G announced during post 2018-2019 budget discussions in Lautoka last Saturday that Government will pay private doctor consultation costs for every Fijian from January 1, 2019.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Government collected about $21 million in NTPC levy annually and about $11m would be used to pay general practitioner consultation fees from next year.

The A-G said this would reduce the burden on the public health system.

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