11 Nov 2003

Fiji PM says no change to government policies if Labour joins cabinet

10:28 am on 11 November 2003

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says there will be no change to his government's policies if the Labour Party joins his cabinet.

Radio Fiji says the prime minister made the comment at a post-budget forum in Suva yesterday when asked to provide an overview of the country's political, social and economic landscape.

Mr Qarase says his SDL party stands ready to accept any decision by the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, whether to go into opposition of join the cabinet.

But he says whatever happens, there will be no significant change in his government's policies.

Meanwhile, a senior Labour Party MP, Dr Ganesh Chand, says there is no provision in the 2004 national budget for the party's inclusion in the cabinet.

A senior official of the Prime Minister's Office had said earlier that Labour's joining the cabinet would cost another one point five million US dollars.

But the secretary for finance, Tevita Banuve, is quoted as saying the allocation for a multi-party cabinet has been camouflaged in the budgets of other ministries.