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Reddy: Top Expatriates Have Helped Fiji Re-Model Its Economy

Reddy: Top Expatriates Have  Helped Fiji Re-Model Its Economy
From left Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office, Yogesh Karan Professor Arvind Patel,,Deputy Australian High Commissioner Amy Cago, Minister for Waterways Dr.Mahendra Reddy, Professor Derrick Armstrong and Professor Neelesh Goundar during the Pacific Update Conference at the Japan-Pacific ICT Auditorium, Laucala Campus, USP on July 5,2018.Photo:Simione Haravanua.
July 06
11:31 2018

Fiji will not shy away from bringing in expatriates with the best and brightest minds to lead top positions in the public and private sector, a Government minister says.

Minister for Waterways, Mahendra Reddy, said the country could not hope to compete in the global market if Fiji’s various sectors were not lead by “the best minds.”

The former Education Minister was speaking at this year’s annual Pacific Update conference currently being held at the University of the South Pacific, Laucala Campus in Suva.

The forum since 2012 has brought together policy makers, development practitioners, academics and business people from the region for the purpose of tackling common problems.

“There is a taboo of limiting expatriates in the country arguing that it will crowd out locals from top positions in the private and public sector,” Mr Reddy said.

“Contrary to this thinking our Government has not shied away from getting the best and brightest minds to remodel our economy where we can’t find equivalent locals.

“The results of this philosophy can be seen throughout Fiji – with more to come.”

The Minister also raised concerns about rising inequality in the region, saying it was critical that research be designed to tackle these problems.

He said one of the ways the Government has provides financing for small business operators in an attempt to lessen the inequality gap in the country, saying there was “no other sustainable solutions for a small economy like Fiji.”

Me Reddy also defended Government debt and the 2018 National Budget, two issues opposition politicians have severely criticised them for recently.

“We have crushed the myth that national budgets before the election should be an expenditure budget loaded with handouts,” he said.

“We will not be irresponsible in raising minimum wage rates out tilter of a sound economy; we will not kill efficiencies in sectors by loading them with subsidies nd attract more inefficient operators and producers.”

There was a was a taboo and myth, he said,  that Government must slow down borrowing to avoid a ‘debt trap.’

“But Government (has) noted that we need to invest in critical infrastructure and renew old infrastructure and renew old infrastructure to support the private sector to grow,” Mr Reddy said.

“This will provide much greater returns in the economy in the longer run surpassing the costs of borrowing and this not only reducing our debt burden but also deliver on to our ultimate long term vision.”

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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