We’re Heading to Record Growth

Despite Tropical Cyclone Winston’s destruction, the Fijian economy is estimated to have expanded by two per cent last year, says Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Delivering his ministerial
09 Feb 2017 11:00
We’re Heading to Record Growth
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar outside Parliament yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Despite Tropical Cyclone Winston’s destruction, the Fijian economy is estimated to have expanded by two per cent last year, says Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Delivering his ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday, he said: “This means that the Fijian economy has recorded seven years of consecutive economic growth, seen only once before in the post-Independence era, which was in the 1970’s.”

“For 2017, the economy is forecasted to accelerate to 3.6 per cent growth. If positive growth for the economy is again achieved, this will become the longest period of sustained economic growth since Independence,” he said.

“2018 and 2019 also look promising with the economy projected to grow by 3.0 per cent, and if achieved, Fiji will register 10 years of consecutive economic growth.”

He said this unprecedented growth trend, and particularly the strength of this growth, was clear evidence that our economic policies and the investments Government was undertaking were doing what we intended them to do.

He said this was the right economic course for Fiji.

The current economic expansion was driven by both public and private sector activities and we must sustain this growth momentum, he added

“The philosophy of FijiFirst is – to empower ordinary Fijians, the wisdom of the FijiFirst Government lies not in making all the decisions for its people, but in creating the conditions that allow Fijians to seize those opportunities to improve themselves – to create, to grow, and to contribute to building a nation that is more prosperous, more just and more modern every day,” he said.

He said Government:

  •  had repealed and revised our Fijian laws to promote inclusive development and support investor confidence.
  •  was investing in education and working to close the skills gap through technical colleges.
  •  was modernising the civil service to improve access to, and delivery of Government services.
  •  was continuing to invest heavily in infrastructure – roads, bridges and jetties including footpaths and street lighting.
  •  was charting new air links to increase connectivity to the world and visibility to investors.
  •  Was connecting Fijians to grid electricity.
  •  had taken steps to further develop iTaukei land to benefit resource owners and ordinary Fijians.
  •  was providing metered, safe drinking water to Fijians and empowering them with social protection programmes.
  •  was also introducing new laws to improve workers’ rights and of course, securing our FNPF.

He said Government was doing what it should do.  “Investing in the enablers that will support Fijians to fully participate in the economy and draw in genuine investors, both domestically and internationally, that share the Fijian Government’s vision for inclusive and sustained growth and development,” he said.     

Sustaining the fundamentals

  •  He said the revised Edition of the Laws of Fiji was launched in December last year.
  •  “The consolidation of the laws, which has not been done for over 30 years, provides clarity regarding the laws applicable in Fiji. This makes doing business easier and more transparent, which in turn boosts investor confidence and facilitates domestic and foreign investment,” he said.

“The Government’s legislative programme is also focused on facilitating business in Fiji. We are currently working with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (‘UNCITRAL’) on the ratification of a number of Conventions including the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communication in International Contracts 2005 (the report for which was tabled yesterday in Parliament) and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.

“The ratification of these Conventions and their effect on our domestic laws will make it easier for Fijian businesses to transact internationally. Along with other initiatives, such as the National Switch, which will be debated in Parliament tomorrow (today), the reforms by the Government foster increased business confidence, which will have a flow on effect on the economy. It will make the cost of doing business a lot cheaper. It will also mean individual citizens will be able to access finance facilities at a much lower cost.

  •  “Modernising the civil service builds public trust and confidence in governance and service delivery. A modern public service is also essential for building and sustaining investor confidence. The introduction of new technology, and not just the introduction of technology as in the hardware but also the process of modernising the methodologies relating to the processing of applications.”

Edited by Maraia Vula


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