This time they try to revive an old Public Service Commission nightmare and are salivating over "what can be" from the rental market value of Government quarters in Suva.
Alas! If only Mr "wet-behind-the-ears-to-the-PSC" Parmesh Chand and his Chairman did some background checks before proposing this policy. If they had not forcefully retired those civil servants over 55, they could have been presented with counter advice by those in possession of institutional history going back to the 90's thereby saving them valuable time and energy.
As a consequence btw of the failed forced retirement policy, they now eat humble pie by offering selective contracts at the prerogative of the mostly militarily linked Permanent Secretaries thereby killing a 2009 dream of Govt savings of up 10% of GDP. And alas that failed dream only benefitted the Disciplined Forces (relatively speaking) in the 2010 budget and the military specifically as evident in their recent Christmas bonuses.
If Parmesh Chand had done his homework like any good CEO should, he would have realized that in the 90's, under the direction of then SVT Finance Minister Jim Ah Koy (yes he does tend to have political longevity this geezer and can always be counted on to put a deal together), the PSC had the same dream of earning major bucks from the proposed sale of Govt quarters -- mostly properties in the Nasese/Domain area.
Unfortunately someone forgot to check who actually owned the land and the conditions of the State Land which those Govt quarters sat on. That quickly ended that dream.
Parmesh Chand is now reviving that idea, but this time aims to rent out those properties at the market rate. Again one would automatically assume that the same input from the landowners is duly required.
Now attempting to raise funds from assets is all very well and good, but:
- these assets do not wholly belong to the Government and the liberty to therefore sell or rent them out is not theirs; and
- with the current stagnation of our real estate industry, the market rates they are expecting will not match the size of the pockets of the majority of those seeking housing, neither will the specifications of these residential properties match those who CAN afford it.