19 Jun 2006

Fiji opposition against water privatisation plans

3:58 pm on 19 June 2006

The Fiji opposition United People's Party says plans by the minister of public utility to privatise the country's water supply system will force the poor to use water from unsafe sources.

The minister plans to pass the ailing water supply system over into private hands.

But the UPP MP, Bernadette Rounds Ganilau, says experience in other parts of the world where water has been privatised shows that it has led to the exclusion of the poor.

"We are not very happy. I also speak for the minority communities they would be at risk if water is charged, and there has to be some charge. And they won't have access to the water, because of the inability to pay and disconnections etc. So I am very very concerned."

The opposition MP says the issue should become a government priority and the necessary funding should be made readily available.

She says the water pipes were not properly maintained in the last decades.