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Fiji To Depend On Other Industries Too, Says A-G

Fiji To Depend On Other Industries Too, Says A-G
Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum during the budget symposium for the Fiji Institute of Accountants at the Holiday Inn on August 30, 2017.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.
August 31
13:12 2017

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has reiterated that the Government does not want Fiji to be dependent on only one or two major economic contributors.

Speaking at the Fiji Institute of Accountants 2017-2018 Budget Symposium in Suva yesterday he said Fiji must be able to depend on other industries and not just Sugar or Tourism alone.

The Government needs to ensure that there’s more diversification, like investing in fisheries and forestry, so Fiji can be dependent on others when another industry is affected. It is important to have a broad based economic growth framework, he said.

Also in terms of Infrastructure, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there are issues that still need to be addressed.

There are still a lot of people who do not have access to electricity, roads, drinking tap water and because of climate change, water tanks are also drying up.

About 170 accountants, and business leaders attended, a big turn out for such an event.

 

There were questions raised during panel discussions and a few concerns.

Are there enough incentives for entrepreneurs?

Fiji Revenue and Customs Service chief executive Visvanath Das responded saying there are incentives and there are funds available.

But Mr Das said before someone thinks of starting a business, you need to look at things seriously and properly considering the risks that might follows.

Furthermore, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted the introduction of the Young Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) which provide grants up to $20,000 to young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-30. Any individual or group of individuals that have unique business ideas are given the funds, but first undergo assessments to ensure it’s worth funding. The scheme will include training and mentorship.

One should be a job provider and not only a job seeker, he said.

There are a lot of people that have ideas but they don’t have the necessary needs to be able to proceed further, said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

Women in Business (WIB) president Nur Bano Ali also made her statement saying there are a lot of initiatives in Fiji.

She said that what we need now is the mobilisation of the initiatives, mainly with funding and finding out the types of funding needed.

There needs to be an assessment in terms of requirements and realising the potentials.

Another question raised was: with the Fiji Ports operating very well, are there same expectations for Airports Fiji Limited (AFL)?

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum responded saying Fiji’s ports can still do a lot better.

An example he highlighted was by getting in the right partners to be able to provide a high level of services.

The idea of getting in partners is not about necessarily raising the capital, its more to bring about a particular level of service to help Fijians with the overall growth of the country’s economy, he said.

If our port is getting better, more people will be attracted to come to Fiji and use Fiji as a transiting hub for the other Pacific Island countries, which is very important, added Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

“If you are able to get the right management, the right level of investment and technology in place, then we can also be able to position ourselves.”

He added that Airports Fiji Limited is doing well also with the private sector.

“You need to bring in the right player, and the player should be able to provide a new opportunity for us. We need to be strategic in who we bring in.”

 

Other issues addressed included the:

Customs Service Whistle blower policy.

Mr Das said they are looking at ‘shame and shine policy’ as we need transparency.

Fiji is working towards creating a bigger and better investment environment

Is there any way to increase the budget allocation for bridges? Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that the major drawbacks are the lack of professionals and construction companies and engineers are tied up with other work.

Feedback:  selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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