18 Sep 2012

Fiji government announcement it will pay water bills could be "vote buying" - Professor

12:01 pm on 18 September 2012

A professor of Pacific history says the interim Fiji Government's offer to pay the water bills of 25 thousand Fijian households, businesses and schools appears to be a vote buying exercise.

In a statement the government says it is forgiving eight million US dollars in unpaid bills, a decision it says will benefit about 100-thousand Fijians.

Professor Brij Lal, from the Australian National University, questions if the regime can afford to pay the bills.

And he says there will be lingering suspicions about the motive for going ahead with such a move.

"I suppose they might see this as a voter pleasing exercise and I suspect as time goes on as we reach closer to the elections in 2014 that you will see more promises, more policys like this to endear the regime to the people of Fiji."

Professor Brij Lal says the announcement is good one for ordinary Fijians who are living in difficult economic times.