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EDITORIAL: Expatriates Help Lift Our Standards

There is nothing wrong with hiring expatriate experts to do work here that locals cannot do. It has been part of immigration criteria that local employers can hire people from
28 Nov 2015 10:26
EDITORIAL: Expatriates Help Lift Our Standards

There is nothing wrong with hiring expatriate experts to do work here that locals cannot do.
It has been part of immigration criteria that local employers can hire people from overseas if they can’t get qualified people here.
Since the Bainimarama Government came into power, it has lifted the standards to another level. This has seen the demise of the Public Works Department.
The PWD was involved in a lot of infrastructure developments like roads, bridges and jetties.
There were criticisms against its abolition because of concerns about job losses and erroneous perceptions that it was cheaper for the PWD to work on projects then hire overseas contractors.
Opposition politicians have also criticised the hiring of overseas expatriates over local workers.
Mr Bainimarama has explained that the simple truth was that during the years of decline in Fiji “we progressively lost the ability to build decent roads.”
Infact, he said the PWD had become so inefficient and corrupt his Government shut it down altogether.
We can all remember those days when a worker’s fulltime job was to mix and serve yaqona or kava at road worksites.
Those days are gone now. We have New Zealand and Chinese contractors now working on our roads employing locals. They work in partnership with the Fiji Roads Authority
We see the difference in the quality and standard of the roads and the workmanship. Some of the roads that were tarsealed by the PWD had suffered from shoddy work and poor maintenance. As a result, they have been transformed to gravel roads.
Mr Bainimarama has warned contractors that the Government would not tolerate substandard work. Government is spending millions of dollars on roads and wants infrastructure to last for a long time to achieve the best value for money spent.
The expatriate contractors from New Zealand are also providing training for local workers so they are passing on their knowledge and skills. In the course of time, local workers with their new-found skills can operate independently and achieve the same outcomes as their overseas trainers.
The partnership between Government and private contractors seems to be the right model because the evidence is obvious.
The campaign for Rio continues in Dubai for Vodafone men’s 7s team and the Telecom Fijiana women’s side.
Both have realistic prospects of winning, judging by their recent performance. It does not mean it will be a walk in the park. There will be stiff challenge.
Every other team in the tournament will be trying to dethrone the men’s team as the World Series champions.
After their performance at the Oceania’s Olympic Qualifyer, the Telecom Fijiana side will be taken more seriously by the other top sides.
A brilliant performance in Dubai will be a perfect start for the road to Rio. It was good omen for the sides when the reps volunteered to help out during a midflight emergency on their way to Dubai. While it displayed their humility, it exemplified teamwork. They jumped in to help without getting asked. They know what’s important both on and off the field. That’s a winning combination.

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