9 Jun 2006

Fiji minister plans privatisation of country's water supply

8:40 am on 9 June 2006

Fiji's new minister for public utilities, Robin Irwin, says his first priority is to privatise the Department of Water and Sewerage to solve the country's water woes.

Mr Irwin says people are currently paying about one cent per litre of water and the government is losing money very badly.

He says water supply is a national crisis that needs to be attended to immediately.

But the leader of the National Alliance Party, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says water is basic and increasing its price would create a lot of frustration among consumers in the present state of the economy.

Ratu Epeli says the government should improve the quality of water before doing anything else.

Three young children are reported to have died in Suva in the last two weeks from diarrhea believed to be linked to contaminated water.