Fiji Opposition MP, Anare Jale, told Parliament’s Budget debate this week the government’s allocation of $FJ1.12 million to the regional group should be reduced by $120,000.
Mr Jale, who is shadow minister for foreign affairs, said the MSG has lost its way and intent, and has failed the people of Melanesia.
The MSG includes Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia’s Kanaks.
Mr Jale said the MSG’s role is to look after the interests of Melanesians in the region but he said the group has failed.
Foreign Affairs Minister Inia Seruiratu rejected Mr Jale’s claims.
“We now have our trade agreements. We just need to strengthen the MSG and it’s the leadership of the MSG that will make it work. And it was the leader of the Opposition that made Fiji join the MSG.”
Mr Jale’s motion to reduce contributions to the MSG was defeated along with his motion to remove the $FJ1.2m ($US560,000) allocation to the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF).
Mr Jale said the PIDF was a duplication of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and there was no need for the budget allocation.
But Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the PIDF had given more opportunities to NGOs and civil societies in the region to participate in high-level discussions.
He said the PIDF also created more awareness on climate change.