The Fiji Times, 5 Aug 2020 by Vilimaina Naqelevuki
ALL citizens in Fiji have a right to meaningfully participate in decisions that affect their lives, including the national budget process.
This was the comment made by Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) chief executive officer Louchrisha Hussain during the Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Alliance for COVID-19 Humanitarian Response to the national budget in Suva yesterday.
She said the alliance wished to remind the Government of its responsibility, particularly as the pandemic affected Fiji.
“The Government should ensure that citizens are informed about the national budget process, understand that process and engage effectively with policymakers in meaningful consultations that are organised,” Ms Hussain said.
She said when the alliance made reference to meaningful consultations, they referred to “a consultation that should represent all our diversities”.
“It is a conversation so there is no talking down or talking to.
“Meaningful consultations tie into the importance of budget transparency as this enhances the quality of a public debate and the ability of citizens and a wide range of stakeholders to contribute to policymaking and budgeting processes.”
The CSO alliance includes FemLINK Pacific, the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, FRIEND Fiji, Social Empowerment and Education Program and the CCF.