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EDITORIAL : Time’s Changing For The Better In The North

Life in Vanua Levu is far from what it was like before! Gone are the days where urban centres in the North were called ghost towns due to the lack
07 Dec 2016 11:00
EDITORIAL : Time’s Changing For The Better  In The North
Editorial

Life in Vanua Levu is far from what it was like before!

Gone are the days where urban centres in the North were called ghost towns due to the lack of investors, less trading and obviously lack of jobs.

Even after the severe devastation caused by Cyclone Winston in Taveuni, Savusavu and other parts of the Cakaudrove province early this year, it has failed to hold back this air of excitement among the people as they go about their daily lives, because they are
hopeful of a brighter future.

Again such attitudes were never seen before from the people of Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata. Since the country’s independence on October 10, 1970, the North has been virtually forgotten when it comes to development.

Politicians over the years came up with tonnes of promises, but the motive was basically to win votes and get into Parliament. They were there for themselves and sadly had no heart for the people.

This went on for decades and things began to change for the better when the Voreqe Bainimarama led- Government came into power and declared their commitment to develop Vanua Levu – through their Look North Policy.

This was where Government ensured that Vanua Levu underwent rapid expansion within a very short period of time.

The policy was aimed to pave way for higher economic activities from the region which is to subsequently improve Vanua Levu’s overall GDP. This has resulted in the:

ν Upgrading and sealing of roads. This has provided links from Labasa to Nabouwalu and Savusavu with connecting ferry services to Taveuni and Viti Levu. Also the increase in Asian and American investors in construction of resorts and marinas along the newly constructed Hibiscus Highway to Buca Bay.

ν Improvements of water reticulation, and extension of the power grid. This has boosted one of the major agricultural projects in the North – rice production in Dreketi. The $10-million project which is spearheaded by experts from the People’s Republic of China has resulted in the construction of an 80-acre pond, which is the reason behind the rise in rice production.

ν Also in the pipeline are high costs projects like the proposed sewerage scheme in Savusavu, port of entry plans and the construction of an international airport. This is definitely going to boost the region’s tourism industry.

These are today’s happenings that are virtually moving the North economically.

The high number of the latest Toyota Hilux and Ford four-wheel drives used as taxis or the increasing number of weekly ferry trips made by Patterson Brothers and Goundar shipping agencies, fully-booked flights with Fiji Link and Northern Air speak volume of peoples’ earnings from their fishing business, timber, dalo or yaqona farms.

This is only the start as Government’s Look North Policy is beginning to take off with the best yet to come.

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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