26 Apr 2009

Fiji citizens 'under financial pressure' as prices rise

5:14 pm on 26 April 2009

One of Fiji's prominent politicians says financial burdens are putting immense pressure on the country's people.

Fiji recently devalued its currency by 20% to stimulate the economy by encouraging with exports and tourism.

The country has been in turmoil since the president revoked the constitution and reinstated military leader Frank Bainimarama despite an Appeal Court ruling that his government was illegal

National Federation Party national secretary Pramod Rae, who is a trade unionist, says as the price of basic goods rises, people in supermarkets are abandoning trolleys full of groceries because they cannot afford to pay for them.

Added to that, he says, people are encountering daily problems of disruption in basic supplies of water and electricity.

Mr Rae says the financial pressures people are suffering add to the mental anguish caused by the country's political state.

Political and economic pressure on Fiji

A Fiji-based non-governmental organisation says there are questions over the financial resources available for governmental operations.

Pacific Concerns Resource Centre director Tupou Vere says Fiji is being hit by not only political turmoil, but the global financial crisis.

She says so far the people of Fiji have proved resilient, but it may not last up to 2014, the year elections have been proposed.

Ms Vere says democracy won't necessarily solve all Fiji's problems, but the country needs to operate within a framework of governance that represents the choice and the will of the people.

She says in an environment of choice, it would be possible to discuss the sort of policies developed and there would be checks and balances over decisions made.