Grim truth behind growth rates The Fiji Times, 13 September 2008
How easily is the public lulled by talk of “positive growth rates” of the economy.
How we are now recovering with positive growth rate of 1.4% for 2008, and perhaps 1.9% for 2009.
But neither the coup nor the charter supporters nor the public dwell on what these growth rates really mean for the long-term welfare of our people.
What does it mean in terms of bread and butter issues, incomes of the poor people, government expenditure on education, health and poverty alleviation?
Well face the grim truth told by the graph.
No Catching Up
The “Bad News” is that if theFiji economy grows at 1.9% from 2010, we will have lost $7 billion in income in the ten years since the 2006 coup.
And the horrible “Good News” is that if by some miracle we grow at 4% per year from 2010, we will still lose $5 billion- more than our annual income for the whole country.
The dotted line shows what the pre-coup trend was in Fiji’s GDP at 2006 prices- just barely chugging along at the average 2000-2006 growth rate, a mere 2.8% per year.
Nothing fantastic, compared toMauritius,ChinaorIndia. But miles better than the other two lines.
Both the two lower lines use the estimates for 2007, 2008 and 2009 as given out by the Reserve Bank ofFiji.
From 2009 to 2016, the bottom line (the “Bad news”) assumes the moderate 1.9% growth rate we have currently. That line is still diverging away from the pre-coup line.
Over the ten years 2007 to 2016 we will have lost a massive 7 billion dollars in GDP or income forFiji.
The middle line (call it the “Good News”) assumes optimistic and unlikely growth rates of 4% per year from 2010 onwards. That line will still not catch up to the old pre-coup trend line.
The horror is that even the “Good News” implies a loss of over $5 billions over the ten years from the 2006 coup.
The loss of between $5 billions (the Good News) and $7 billions (the Bad News) is the sure legacy thatFijiis going to be left with by the coup perpetrators and supporters.
With these losses in national income, come losses in Government Revenue and Expenditure- roughly 30 percent of the income.
Government will lose between $1.3 and $1.8 billion dollars in taxes. Government will have between $1.3 and $1.8 billion less to spend on education, health, infrastructure, and poverty alleviation.
These are the losses that Bainimarama and the Military Council, all the soldiers blindly following orders, the missionary clerics and returned expatriates, and callous politicians are granting to theFijipeople.
Coup and Charter supporters, clerics and others, who keep parroting the phrases transparency, accountability, and good governance need to every day think about the following continuing crimes againstFiji and its people.
(a) There is the treason against a lawfully appointed President and lawfully elected Government.
(b) There is the military’s unlawful over-expenditure for 2006 and 2007, effectively “stealing” more than $50 millions from tax-payers without their permission. This robbery from tax-payers continues this year, with the Commander declaring himself Minister of Finance, whose Treasury the military is robbing. All Charter supporters, including the TASS CEO, are accessories to this continuing crime.
(c) There is the unlawful removal of numerous functionaries from office , without following due process, denying them natural justice.
(d) There is the unethical 30 year back-pay to senior army officers, and to the Commander.
(e) There is the continued refusal by the Interim Government to let the Auditor General fully audit Government spending and borrowing, and the Regimental Funds
(f) There is the deep psychological scarring of decent military and police personnel who are having to follow orders which in their hearts they know are wrong and illegal.
(g) And there is the continued failure to prosecute those responsible for the 2000 killing in military custody of the five CRW soldiers taken alive from their homes.
These crimes will not go away. It does not matter how long the three wise men take to pass judgment.
Some of these crimes are beyond political settlement, but a number that concern the nation’s welfare, can be resolved.
Again, the way out
It is a tragedy therefore that Bainimarama and the Military Council are refusing to urgently consider the 8 point proposal that was put to them more than a year ago, and recently again two months ago, that can take this country out of our nightmare.
1 Negotiations be held between the Military Council, and the major political leaders with a view to a constitutional settlement
2 Authority be returned to the President as appointed under the provisions of the 1997 Constitution, with the FMF returning to their normal duties, but with an additional role through the Multi-Party Resolution Committee (MPRC) outlined below.
3 The President recalls the Parliament elected in the 2006 Elections, and appoints a high level non-political “Multi-Party Resolution Committee” for resolving all political differences at Cabinet level.
4 A new Government of National Unity be negotiated between SDL and FLP, drawing on non-Parliamentarians if necessary through Senate.
5. The Government of National Unity governFijiuntil 2011, putting in place all constitutional changes agreed upon between the parties.
6. All initiatives begun since December 2006 (such as the Charter, FICAC, the Review of the GCC, the Electoral Reform) be negotiated in good faith between the Parties for implementation under the full authority of the 1997 Constitution, with the MPRC resolving any differences.
7. With investor confidence restored by the constitutional settlement, the Government of National Unity call upon all national institutions and concerned individuals (such as business and community leaders, academics etc) to help Fiji’s economic recovery and economic growth.
8. To minimise legal liability onFijitax-payers for wrongful dismissal by the Interim Government, dismissed personnel be given opportunity for employment on special investment projects initiated by the Government of National Unity.
9. There be appointed a Presidential Commission of Truth, Justice and Reconciliation to investigate the events of 2000 and 2006, and recommend necessary and justified amnesties from prosecution and Presidential pardons.
The slide into disaster
Economists have always pondered over the terrible collapse of the once rich African and Asian economies. Often accompanied by political and social strife and madness of the worst kind.
This is now happening before our very eyes.
People holding power through guns marching blindly along their pre-conceived paths totally ignoring all opposition.
Otherwise good people, shutting their eyes to the heinous crimes that have been and continue to be committed in front of them.
Heinous crimes all justified by the pathetic self-deception that this Interim Government’s current path is going to lead to a betterFiji.
When we all know: you cannot force the largest ethnic community to accept the treasonous injustice done to them, and to fall in line with others plans for their future and country.
And just because Bainimarama, Chaudhry, Qarase and other leaders are unable to work together, our country and our future is being destroyed in front of our very eyes.