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A-G: Our Economy Better Now Than 10 Years Ago

The Fijian economy is on a very good position compared to what it was about 10 years ago with an unprecedented growth. The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum,
21 Jul 2016 09:38
A-G: Our Economy  Better Now Than  10 Years Ago
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while speaking to participants at the Pacific Leadership Programme, Fiji’s Economy and Infrastructure session in Suva yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Fijian economy is on a very good position compared to what it was about 10 years ago with an unprecedented growth.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, revealed this while speaking at the Pacific Leadership Programme at Kaunikuila House in Flagstaff, Suva, yesterday.

“The growth rate in particular for the past three years is in excess of four per cent which again is completely unprecedented for Fiji,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this meant that there was more prosperity here.

“The poverty level in Fiji has dropped by about a little more than three per cent,” he said.

“What is also more important is that the gini coefficient shows that the inequality in Fiji has also dropped. That is very significant. For example, if you look at countries like India, China and numerous other countries in the Asia-Pacific region wherever there is economic growth, it does not necessarily mean that the disparity between the rich and the poor is getting closer.

(The Gini coefficient (sometimes expressed as a Gini ratio or a normalized Gini index) is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income distribution of a nation’s residents, and is the most commonly used measure of inequality – Wikipedia)

“In fact, in many countries where the growth rates have shot through the roof, the disparity has in fact widened,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum believes it is the responsibility of any government to ensure that there are growth rates and growth that are able to be shared with everybody.

“In Fiji, we have done it by way of having targeted assistance to people below a particular income level,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this was done through Government’s various schemes such as free medicine for people who earned less than $20,000 a year.

“So these are the kinds of interventions that we have done in order to be able to bring people at the bottom end of the socio-economic scale up to a particular level,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the test of any economy or any government was their vision, their objective and how to get there.

He also stressed Government’s plans to position Fiji with other top tourist destinations through infrastructure rebuilding.

“But it is also providing the enormous amount of accessibility to ordinary Fijians. There are still people in Fiji who do not have the services that most of you take for granted. Things like access to water, electricity,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there was still a need to get a lot of people to have accessibility to these essential services.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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