Show proof or shut up: Biman Prasad tells Mahendra Chaudhry

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Biman Prasad in an earlier interview with The Fiji Times this year. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Provide irrefutable evidence that I promised to pay $110 per tonne of cane to cane growers during campaign for the 2022 General Election or shut up.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Professor Biman Prasad made the comment after Fiji Labour Party (FLP) leader and National Farmers Union (NFU) general secretary Mahendra Chaudhry said the Finance Minister should honour his election promise and allocate funds in the budget to raise the price to $110 per tonne.

Prof Prasad said he never made any such promise during the last election campaign.

“He (Mr Chaudhry) cannot and will not provide irrefutable evidence that I, as leader of the National Federation Party, promised a cane payment of $110 per tonne,” he said.

“He should shut up and stop being a petty-minded agitator who obviously cannot digest the inevitable fact that he will soon be in political oblivion.”

He said for the first time in four years, cane growers had been paid the guaranteed price of $85 per tonne and in fact the recent payment of $7.11 per tonne has taken the price paid so far to over the guaranteed price.

FLP leader and NFU general secretary Mahendra Chaudhry maintained that during the 2022 General Election campaign, Prof Prasad promised cane growers that if he was elected, his party would increase the guaranteed minimum cane price to $110.

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