Unions call Fiji Gov to pay subsidy to USP, which is in millions

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The two unions representing staff at the University of the South Pacific are calling on the Fiji Government to honour the decisions of their parliament and pay the outstanding subsidy due to the university.

Radio New Zealand reports the Fiji Goverment has withheld what is officially called a grant but is in fact a subsidy on the student fees at the university.

The unions, the University of the South Pacific Staff Union and the Association of University of the South Pacific Staff, in a statement, said the Fiji Government owes the institution $FJ78.4 million.

The money has been withheld by the government because of its ongoing battle with Vice Chancellor, Pal Ahluwalia.

There were a series of inquiries after Mr. Ahluwalia had identified significant corruption within the previous administration at the USP.

Five inquiries so far have cost the USP more than $FJ one million, and they have all exonerated Ahluwalia.

The unions said: “It is apparent, that unable to remove Professor Pal Ahluwalia for his exposure of the financial mismanagement and other breaches of the previous USP Administration, the Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Civil Service, Communications, Housing, and Community Development is doing damage to the premier regional university and hurting USP students by withholding the Fiji Government’s obligatory contribution.”

However, the Fiji Government last week called for yet another investigation.

The unions have a paid advertisement running today in Fiji.

In it, they said: “Based on the outcomes of the inquiries there is no reasonable justification for another inquiry.

The Unions on behalf of the students, staff, and alumni, therefore, call on the Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama to abide by and honour the decision of the Fiji Parliament that approved the

USP Grants for 2020, 2021 and to pay what is owed under its obligation and to bring this matter to closure so as to leave no one behind.”