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EDITORIAL: New Positive Economic Figures Indicator Of A Golden Age

We should all be proud of the news that our economic growth has broken through the five per cent barrier. This achievement did not happen by chance or overnight. It
06 Sep 2015 08:04
EDITORIAL: New Positive Economic Figures Indicator Of  A Golden Age

We should all be proud of the news that our economic growth has broken through the five per cent barrier.

This achievement did not happen by chance or overnight. It is the product of sustained and steady economic growth that marks Fiji’s longest running period of economic expansion.

A Department of Information statement yesterday said the economy grew by 5.3 per cent last year, according to provisional figures on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released by the Bureau of Statistics.

The biggest driver of growth was the transport sector (up 1.9 per cent for the year) and there were solid gains in the financial and insurance sector (1.2 per cent), public administration and defence (0.7 per cent) manufacturing ( 0.3 per cent) and education ( 0.3 per cent ).

However, agriculture was down 2.4 per cent because of falling production of taro, yam and coconuts. And the mining sector recorded zero growth in 2014.

If agriculture had performed the growth rate would have been higher.

It’s an area the Government needs to look at closely. To a large extent, we are an agro-based society. There is big potential to increase our agricultural production.

The drop in dalo, yam and coconut production can be reversed once the causes are identified and resolved.

The performance of the transport industry highlights its growing profile in a developing economy. We are a maritime nation.

Sea, land and air transport plays a crucial role in our development. That is why the commissioning of a new Government vessel Cagivou by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was timely.

The vessel would go a long way to easing the shipping pressure in the remote islands and open up economic opportunities.

Land and air transport has also contributed significantly to the positive results.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has every reason to be delighted.

He said it was an important psychological boost.

“Fiji is clearly in the throes of a golden age. For the economy to grow by 5.3 per cent last year exceeds all expectations and is a remarkable achievement considering the stagnant conditions in much of the region and especially larger economies like Australia. It shows that Fiji is powering ahead and confidence in the country is high, largely because of the sound economic policies and decisive leadership of the FijiFirst Government and confidence in our new democracy.” he said.

There’s strong possibility that the growth figure could hit six based on the current indication.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum makes an important point that we need to remain focused on managing the economy to the highest possible standard.

Secondly, he says we should also ensure that the benefits of prosperity filter through the community to those who need it most.

The economy is fickle. It’s performance depends on prevailing conditions.

The  recorded growth was anchored by political stability and a favourable investment climate. That could change if there is instability.

In such an event, business leaders and investors lose confidence and put a hold on spending.

It’s in our national interest that we maintain peace and stability to guarantee that the growth continues this year and into the New Year.

The Government must be commended for its deliberate policies which have contributed to the sustained growth.

 

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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