Weekender

Plan hopes to address growth

Written By : SHRATIKA NAIDU. The Vanua Levu Development Plan (VLDP) 2010 to 2014, in an essence, tries to address the development needs of the Northern Division which has been
27 Mar 2011 12:00

image Written By : SHRATIKA NAIDU. The Vanua Levu Development Plan (VLDP) 2010 to 2014, in an essence, tries to address the development needs of the Northern Division which has been lacking over the past years.
Much expectations has been given to the North through the ‘Look North Policy’ however, Vanua Levu still remains undesirable to both domestic and foreign investors despite its tax free status .
The VLDP, which was prepared by the Northern Commissioner’s office, was revealed to the Northern district councillors during their first meeting on Tuesday at Khastriya Hall in Labasa.
The meeting was conducted by the Northern Divisional Planning Officer, Alipate Bolalevu.
He said the VLDP was based on the sections of the People’s Charter, focused on growing the economy.
“The need to raise investor confidence and investment levels is often subdued by the critical problem, which is the lack of infrastructure development in the division,” Mr Bolalevu said.
“The VLDP has drawn its investment priorities from existing Government strategic documents such as the national transport plan, national energy sector policy, national telecommunications sector plan and the tourism development plan.
“The focus of the plan during the period 2010 to 2014 is on infrastructure development.”
He said this focus was based on the premise that infrastructure was a prerequisite for investment and the overall need to increase investment by 25 per cent of the gross domestic product GDP.
“The plan is also envisaged to provide the required sense of direction and the stimulus needed for the achievement of this important target,” Mr Bolalevu said.
“The plan also attempts to identify catalyst projects needed to market the incentives provided under the Vanua Levu Integrated Economics Development Package formulated by the Government in 2006.
“In looking at the level of development, the North has been deprived of its fair share of infrastructure development. The majority of the infrastructure such as roads, ports and airports require proper upgrading to meet national and international standards.”
He said basic needs and luxury items like water and sewerage, electricity and telecommunication was only accessible to approximately 35 per cent of the total population and was largely available within the urban and peri-urban area.
“The majority of the rural areas are still forced to use alternative sources despite their struggles with the increase in cost of living and inflation,” Mr Bolalevu said.
“The challenge for any government is on the provision of its priority service which is affordable education and better primary health care for its citizens.
“The objective of the development plan is to identify and implement policies that will develop Vanua Levu and at the same time achieve the collective vision that is a better Vanua Levu for all.”
He said the vision of the VLDP was consistent with the Government’s roadmap to democracy and sustainable socio-economic development and was built on the premise that “a better Vanua Levu for all” was a stepping stone for the achievement of “a better Fiji for all”.


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