24 Nov 2008

Anger in Fiji at military getting budget dollars at expense of education

8:14 pm on 24 November 2008

A significant lift in funding to Fiji's military in last week's budget is facing strong criticism.

The general secretary of the Fiji Council of Trade Unions, Attar Singh, says increasing the country's military budget while continuing to make cuts to the education sector cannot be justified.

He says the education budget has been progressively cut from its 2006 high of 168 US Million dollars to 145 million in this budget.

"Education obviously used to take the greatest chunk of the budget. Now we find the that the reduction of the education budget compared to 2006 levels and an increase of military budget does again not make sense. The military budget seems like the military is asking for a budget or giving itself a budget that may be more suitable for war time."

Economist Mahendra Reddy also questions the allocation of close to 54 US million dollars to the Fiji military.

For a small a small country like Fiji such a large amount of public sector of resources going to the military does not augar will in terms of meeting competing demands in terms for resources.

Dr Mahendra Reddy.