National Economic Summit 2023

National Economic Summit 2023

By fijivillage
Wednesday 26/04/2023

A brighter future for our nation requires our communities to be united and move away from divisions, and we all know what those divisions have done to us.

This was Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka’s message to the delegates attending the National Economic Summit at the Grand Pacific Hotel.

A brighter future for Fiji requires us to be united and move away from division – PM

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 20/04/2023
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka

A brighter future for our nation requires our communities to be united and move away from divisions, and we all know what those divisions have done to us.

This was Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka’s message to the delegates attending the National Economic Summit at the Grand Pacific Hotel.

Rabuka who is under doctor’s orders to rest for a few days says he decided that it was very important to be present at the summit given the significance of the summit not only to the coalition government but to the nation as a whole.

He says reshaping our future means more than just promoting economic growth and development.

Rabuka says let us all come together to build a nation of enduring unity and prosperity.

He adds on many occasions they have declared that they in government are the people’s servants and not their masters.

Rabuka says it is their obligation to treat everyone with humility and fairness.

He says the summit is the implementation of the commitment to genuine dialogue and consultation with all the stakeholders.

Rabuka says inclusivity lies at the heart of the coalition’s strong belief in a transparent and accountable leadership.

He also says that we all agree that we face many daunting challenges that we must collectively address.

He says the summit is historic because the last summit of this kind was held 15 years ago in 2008.

Rabuka says it is also timely taking into account the need for our country to take stock, make the necessary changes and decisively move forward.

The Prime Minister says apart from the current unsustainable national debt level, we also have to be mindful of the geopolitical and global economic environment.

As a small, island developing state, Rabuka says we are vulnerable to such events which are beyond our control.

He says it is critical that we must make timely adjustments so that we can cope and be able to survive in the global trading environment.

Rabuka adds we have just been through one of the world’s worst pandemics of modern times, with COVID-19.

He says it affected the whole world, and was more devastating for Small Island Developing economies like Fiji.

The Prime Minister says the Russian-Ukrainian War in Europe made our efforts to recover from the pandemic more challenging particularly due to the supply-chain issues.

He says we must address these challenges collectively through this summit, and craft solutions together as a nation.

Rabuka adds we need to strengthen our laws and institutions, we need to restore investor confidence and improve the business environment and at the same time, protect our natural resources, we need to rebuild our infrastructure which has been neglected, and most importantly look at ways to ease the burden of the high cost of living for our people.

He also says we need to strengthen the private sector which is called the engine of growth.

Rabuka says it is important to promote trade and build the confidence of the private sector.

He also says at the same time we must continue to strengthen both multilateral and bilateral relations with our trading and development partners.

The Prime Minister says the coalition government strongly believes that addressing these priorities head-on is the cornerstone to building a progressive and prosperous nation for our future generations.

He says he is sure that with our collective knowledge and wisdom, we will be able to develop practical and lasting solutions, to improve the lives of our people.

He is confident that the findings and recommendations from this summit will contribute to the formulation of the National Budget and our National Development Plan.

No show by the Opposition at the National Economic Summit

It shows the politicians that are not attending do not believe in dialogue and consultation – Prof.Prasad
By Vijay Narayan, Rashika Kumar
Thursday 20/04/2023

Although the Members of the Opposition were invited to the two day National Economic Summit, none of the FijiFirst Party parliamentarians have shown up this morning.

Empty chairs for the Opposition can be seen at the summit at GPH.

Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry who has been critical of the summit is also not present at the summit.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad says it shows the politicians that are not attending do not believe in dialogue and consultation.

Unity Fiji Party Leader, Savenaca Narube is at the summit and will take part in a plenary session today which will focus on the state of the economy and future for fiscal policy.

This session will have a panel made up of Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Ariff Ali, Savenaca Narube, Fiji Council of Social Services Executive Director, Vani Catanasiga, and Fijian Holdings Limited CEO, Jaoji Koroi.

While opening the National Economic Summit, Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka said let us be reminded that we can all work together to seek solutions to challenges and maintain our different political viewpoints.

Rabuka also says that he was pleased to note that all Members of Parliament have been invited to attend the summit.

He says their approach is about keeping Fiji moving in a unified direction and creating confidence that leaders can put their differences aside and work together to chart a new future for all.

Rabuka believes this reflects the spirit of the summit.

He also hopes that the deliberations in the next two days will surely bring unity and solutions to our collective challenges. We are currently trying to get comments from Opposition Leader, Inia Seruiratu, FijiFirst Party General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and FLP Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry.

Fiscal Review Committee recommending VAT increase not greater than 15% and removal of zero VAT rating on basic items

It cannot be business as usual - Naidu
By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 20/04/2023
Chair of the Fiscal Review Committee, Richard Naidu

It cannot be business as usual, we are recommending VAT to increase to no greater than 15 percent but there will be re-targeted support for the poorer people.

That is the message from the Chair of the Fiscal Review Committee, Richard Naidu at the National Economic Summit today.

Naidu says the committee is recommending a significant increase of VAT to 15 percent but not greater than that, and he also says that the zero VAT rating on the basic items should be taken away.

He also says the 9 percent VAT, according to the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service is costing $160 million a year to the government.

Naidu says the high-income earners benefit from the zero VAT rating the most as they can afford to buy more basic items like flour, rice, cooking oil etc than the poorer people.

He says the plan is to target the lower income households and finding a way to deliver cash back to them.

Naidu says they are recommending that government leaves personal income tax pretty much as it is.

He stresses we cannot meaningfully address the challenges being faced without more money.

The Fiscal Committee Chair says they also want to drive taxation using principles which are sustainable revenue, fairness, equity, simplicity, certainty, predictability, transparency and no more budget policy by ambush. Naidu says there is no point doing this if we are not able to uplift the poorest people.

He says we have 200,000 people in poverty, we have 96,000 people on the welfare rolls but the targeting again is getting increasingly blurred.

He adds that human capital investment is needed now to make the next generation economically productive and we cannot wait.

Naidu says in order to make those people productive, we must invest in their health and education.

He says we are significantly underspending and under-investing on health and we will pay the price later.

The Chair says we also have multiple challenges in education.

Naidu also says looking at the ease of doing business rankings since 2008 – we have slid from 43 in the year 2008 to 102.

Looking at the ease of starting a business ranking – we slid from 87 to 163 and there are only 190 countries.

In the physical and capital investment space, Naidu says they have held discussions regarding the Land Sales Act, State Lands Act, electricity supply, Department of Environment and Department of Town and Country Planning and business process issues.

Naidu says some of these are not difficult fixes.

He adds that we need to have a look at the new Investment Act and how useful it is.

The Chair says we have to completely look at immigration – the retirement market, the market for nomads and using foreign skills as it is about bringing people in because they are economically useful to us and bringing in the skills.

Naidu further says that we need to look at the courts, dispute resolution and the wider justice system as we have to fix up our whole dispute mechanism system.

He says if they are not delivering results in a timely and efficient way, that is a clear disincentive to investment.

Naidu stresses that they are only recommending, they are not deciding, as the government will make the decision.

We do not have the financial headroom to respond to shocks - Naidu

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 20/04/2023
Chair of the Fiscal Review Committee, Richard Naidu addressing delegates at the National Economic Summit earlier today

If we continue as we are, based on World Bank and International Monetary Fund numbers, Fiji will hit a debt to GDP ratio at 100 percent in 10 years.

While speaking at the National Economic Summit, the Chairman of the Fiscal Review Committee, Richard Naidu says the current fiscal consolidation measures that the government is taking will not decrease the debt to GDP ratio.

Naidu says the high debt to GDP ratio will constrain our borrowing but we must still invest in physical and human capital.

He says if this is not done, our quality of life and long term economic growth is threatened.

Naidu sounded the warning bells and said that even the assumptions that we make today about our road and bridge network surviving, about there being water in the taps, are things we assume will continue, and those are at risk unless we invest significantly.

He says we do not have the financial headroom to respond to shocks.

He says economic growth is good for everybody, but we need to be careful when we are trying to cut government expenditure.

Naidu says an example is the Department of Environment, which is a source of a lot of complaints from private sector investors, and yet over the last four years its budget has been cut from $10 million to $3 million just as demand for its work increases.

He highlights that the department has real resource constraints as a result.

Naidu adds that the government is simply under-funded.

He says VAT used to be 15 percent, corporate tax used to be 28 percent, the income tax threshold used to be $16,000, and the government took a whole lot of growth gambles by reducing the tax take and against increasing government spending.

He says in essence that gamble in the committee’s view has not paid off.

Naidu says generally they think the quality of government spending has been poor and possibly politically driven.

He says obviously the rising debt to GDP levels before COVID were evident.

Naidu says with the COVID driven economic contraction, Fiji suffered the fourth highest contraction in the world behind Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palau.

People that squander our money and abuse their offices should be held accountable – Narube

Govt should remove wastage – Unity Fiji Leader
By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 20/04/2023
Unity Fiji Leader and former Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Savenaca Narube

Unity Fiji Leader and former Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Savenaca Narube says he wishes that we hold the people that squander our money, abuse their offices and break laws to account because corruption destroys initiatives, the economy and confidence.

While speaking in a panel discussion during the National Economic Summit, Narube says he wishes we could make appointments on merit which is probably wishful thinking in a political world but he hopes they do not appoint just because of political affiliations.

He says we should swallow some medicine now before we find ourselves in the hospital bed sometime in the future.

When asked what can be done to address the issue of cost of living, Narube says the consumers bear all the burden of the increased cost of living and he asks that why don’t we share that burden with the businesses through price control mechanisms.

He further says the economy in his view will not get to where it was in 2019 until 2025 which is a long period of gestation and decline.

He says without COVID, Fiji’s average growth rate in the long term is about 2 percent which is not enough to get us where we want to go.

Narube says debt servicing is crowding out the essential expenses of the government and according to his calculation, 44 cents of every dollar that we get from domestic revenue goes to the payment of the debt.

He says Fiji should focus first on reforming expenses because we do not want to be spending hard earned revenue on expenses that are wasteful.

The Party leader says the government should remove wastage especially those that are systematically there in the budget. He further says State owned entities takes up a lot of our money and they should be reformed.

He says there is a long of potential and options to diversify the economy and the Fiji’s future depends on the development of natural resources.

Narube says natural resources are not integrated into the value chain.

He says he also wants to bring the disparity of wealth into this discussion which is very important to future economic and political stability.

If we do not grow then we will be creating more debt – RBF Governor

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 20/04/2023
RBF Governor Ariff Ali

Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Ariff Ali says if Fiji is not careful of the measures and focus on fiscal consolidation or revenue, we may end up digging a bigger hole, and adds that if we do not grow then we will be creating more debt.

While speaking during a panel discussion at the National Economic Summit, Ali says we all agree that our debt is relatively high which means we are spending a lot of money servicing it and it is not going into productive expenditure.

He says given that our debt level is high, in the event if we have another catastrophe, then the room to borrow will not be there.

He says the trend in our debt level should be downwards.

Ali says Fiji’s debt to GDP ratio up until July 2019 was below 50 percent but in the last four years, it peaked at just above 90 percent and has now come to about 80 percent.

The Governor says one of the things that the multilateral institutions have said is that Fiji should increase interest rates to neutral level which is 3 percent.

Ali says in a period when they want the private sector to grow and government’s debt servicing to fall, if the central bank increases interest rates by 3 percent, government will end up paying more in debt servicing and the private sector will also end up paying more in interest and therefore the incentive for private sector to lead growth will not be there.

He says because of base effect last year, we had a very strong growth of an initial estimate of 15.6 percent but the revised numbers are looking closer to 17 or 18 percent.

Ali says this year, based on the trend in the first quarter, visitor arrivals may get close to the 2019 levels so growth this year will be revised upwards.

He says however, it will be very difficult for Fiji to get out of this debt so the key challenge for the country is working together and see if growth can be raised to somewhere around 5 percent.

Ali says if we can grow at the rate of 5 percent then there are chances of reducing the debt to GDP ratio.

Ministry of Health is doing their best but it is not good enough – Dr. McCaig

By Rashika Kumar
Friday 21/04/2023
Former Head of Surgery and Medical Sciences at FNU, Doctor Eddie McCaig [Image: Fiji Government]

Public health care providers do not have the resources to provide all the care that is promoted by the providers and desired and demanded by the public who increasingly with travel, education, television and relatives abroad now have an unrealistic expectation of the system.

This has been highlighted by former Head of Surgery and Medical Sciences at FNU, Doctor Eddie McCaig while speaking during the National Economic Summit and says yes, there is a problem and the Ministry of Health is working and doing their best but it is not good enough.

Dr. McCaig says in 2019, 3.82 percent of the GDP was spent on the health sector which equates to $236 per person which is not enough.

The doctor says Fiji in the list of ranking of money spent of GDP was listed at 151, which is worse than the grading of our soccer team so yes, we do need more money.

He says last year Fiji lost 807 nurses which equates to 26.7 percent of 3,056 nurses.

He says doctors right now are very well paid in Fiji compared to when he started as an intern and got $2,000 per year but doctors at this time get paid about $45,000 a year so the salary is not a big issue.

Dr. McCaig says however nurses are not getting paid well and when he once asked the administrators why, he was told that they did not submit their proposal early enough.

He says this government should prioritise and put money where there is high demand.

Meanwhile, Doctor Shanita Sen says private hospitals and clinics play a critical role in achieving universal health care in Fiji.

She says health care providers are often motivated by their desire to attract and retain patients and to achieve this, they must provide quality health care services that meet the needs and the expectations of the patients.

Dr. Sen says private hospitals and clinics must invest in modern equipment, and they should hire skilled health care professionals to improve the quality of care.

She says by doing this, they can help increase the standard of health care across the country.

The doctor says private hospitals can also help increase access to health care services, particularly for people living in remote and rural areas.

She says they are also able to offer services in public health care facilities such as specialised surgeries and treatments.

Doctor Sen says private hospitals can invest in modern medical equipment to improve quality.

She further says private hospitals and clinics can contribute to financing health care services where private health care providers can work in partnership with the public sector to provide affordable health care services to those people who otherwise would not be able to access them.

She says for example, the government could provide funding to private hospitals and clinics to establish facilities in the under served areas or hire health care professionals to work in remote communities and a very good example is the public private partnership which is in the form of free medicine scheme.

ADB and World Bank have told us that our capital expenditure priorities are wrong – Naidu

There is no whole of Govt Asset Register or comprehensive maintenance program
By Vijay Narayan
Friday 21/04/2023
Fiscal Review Committee Chairman Richard Naidu

The government has very poor maintenance practices, we have been told that for every $5 we have been spending on new capital expenditure, we have been spending $1 on maintenance but we are told it should be the other way around in order to lengthen the life and improve the value of our assets.

Those are the comments of the Fiscal Review Committee Chairman, Richard Naidu at the National Economic Summit.

He says the ADB and the World Bank have told the committee that our capital expenditure priorities are wrong.

Naidu says they have been told that in common with other Pacific countries, we have a build, deteriorate, rebuild model of capital expenditure.

He says a lot of Fiji’s capital expenditure that is provided for in the budget is undelivered from year on year, sometimes by as much as 50 percent, so we have planning and implementation issues.

Naidu also reveals that there is no whole of Government Asset Register or comprehensive maintenance program.

He says this was a surprise to the committee, and everybody is doing their own thing.

The Chair says they have one department with 212 properties trying to manage maintenance of an excel spreadsheet.

Naidu adds the major utilities are grant dependent and do not control their own money.

He says if you are only being told every 6 months how much money you will get, how can you enter into long term contracts which are likely to add greater value.

The Chair further says social spending including water and electricity subsidies is increasingly poorly targeted.

He says you get into a system, its a bit like the Hotel California, you never leave, so nobody graduates out and that means we are increasingly poorly targeting spending.

Growing the economy is the best way to reduce poverty and increase prosperity - Gounder

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Friday 21/04/2023
University of the South Pacific Senior Economics Lecturer Neelesh Gounder

University of the South Pacific Senior Economics Lecturer Neelesh Gounder says growing the economy is the best way to reduce poverty and increase prosperity.

While presenting on Macroeconomic Management at the National Economic Summit, Goundar says macroeconomic settings is really important in terms of guiding the overall strategies and policies the government will have to come up with.

He says to grow the economy, Fiji needs to expand its agriculture sector, and revamp the Business Process Outsourcing sector which has the potential for expansion and will create more jobs.

The economist says agriculture is important from a food security perspective.

Goundar also highlighted the issue regarding ease of doing business as some of their participants raised concerns that it took a long time to get permits and electricity connections to businesses.

He says tax reforms should be carried out in context of broad social economic development agenda, so tax reforms needs to consider the impact, not only on the economy but also the social impact as well.

The USP lecturer also suggests that Board appointments should be solely be done on merit to ensure operations are run efficiently.

It is not the purpose of the super-funds reduction to drive the economy, it was a policy of the Govt of the day – FNPF Chair

By Alipate Narawa
Friday 21/04/2023
FNPF Chairman Daksesh Patel [Image: Fiji Government]

The board or the management of the Fiji National Provident Fund do not determine whether it should be the purpose of the superannuation-funds reduction to drive the economy, as that was a policy of the government of the day.

FNPF Chairman Daksesh Patel stated this at the National Economic Summit adding it is not their purpose to stimulate growth.

“This is not a policy of the board of the FNPF or the management determines, it was a policy of the government of the day” FNPF Chairman Daksesh Patel.

Patel says the simple and sole purpose of the FNPF is to serve the members interest, enhance their return, and safeguard their retirement fund.

He adds it is not their purpose to play the role of the private sector, nor the role of the government.

Patel says their role is member-centric, to protect the interest of the members, however, as a fund they have to return to their members by investing in various sectors.

He also says this is to ensure there is consistent return, or the money works itself to give members an additional return and therefore they invest in many industries which as a consequence stimulates the national economy.

The Chairman further says the loosening of the monetary policy and the world of fiscal stimulus no doubt activated the economy in the last few years in the pandemic.

He adds FNPF was central to it because they had members withdrawing which was allowable withdrawals to go and meet their needs.

We note the urgent demands of the people for solutions to their daily challenges, including the rising cost of living – Prof.Prasad

14 key resolutions announced
By Vijay Narayan
Friday 21/04/2023
National Economic Summit has concluded with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad. [Image: Fiji Government]

The National Economic Summit has concluded with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad stating they note the urgent demands of the people for solutions to their daily challenges, including the rising cost of living.

Professor Prasad says they will pursue the most sustainable solution to improving cost of living challenges that must come from rising incomes sourced through economic growth.

However, he says short term measures, such as directed and targeted assistance for lower-income households, could be improved with increased Government revenue created by a growing economy.

14 key resolutions have also been agreed to that need to be addressed immediately.

They include a call on Government to immediately prioritize the upgrading and maintenance of Fiji’s water, sewerage supply and waste management systems in urban centres throughout Fiji, with particular attention to the Suva-Nausori corridor.

Professor Prasad says they noted the critical need for Government’s economic strategy to be focused on trusted leadership and good governance, climate change and environmental sustainability and improving the climate for investment and business to thrive; reinforcing the need for sound fiscal discipline in Government in both revenue raising and expenditure to address critical operational and investment needs, to bring Government debt down to fiscally manageable and responsible levels and to engage actively with development partners to capitalise on funding and development opportunities; and noted that good governance demanded better accountability from the legislative, executive and judicial arms of Government to build economic confidence – the legislature to use its processes to build consensus and consistency of policy on important long-term issues such as health, education and key industries.

The summit also wants the executive to be held legally and financially accountable for its actions and decisions; and for the judiciary’s work to become more efficient and timely; underscoring to Government the critical need to upgrade and prioritise its work on human development including in the areas of health, education, housing, youth, women and girls and abuse of children, poverty alleviation; to ensure better community representation in decisions relating to human development. This will require a properly maintained infrastructure to ensure consistent and improved delivery and urging the Government to unleash the potential of rural and outer island areas by providing them the infrastructure and resources needed to begin their own economic transformation.

They are also setting out to Government the urgent need to reform outdated laws holding back the development of land-based economic activities such as agriculture; to ensure biosecurity and related support for exports; and to ensure stronger institutional capacity to respond to the needs of agriculture, including developing the participation of women in agricultural activities.

The summit noted the need for co-ordinated conservation and better regulation of fisheries to develop marine-based activities and a wider, community based approach with additional focused support to improve commercial participation and sustainable commercialization of Fiji’s marine resources.

They also require the Government to urgently upgrade technology based education at all levels and to provide the necessary infrastructure to improve Fiji’s ability to use innovate and create technological solutions and develop high-end technology; recognized the importance of increasing the engagement and empowerment of Fiji’s indigenous population in commerce and business in partnership with other communities and stakeholders.

The summit stressed the need for the indigenous community to leverage its land and natural resources as an asset for direct equity ownership of businesses and commercial ventures in collaboration with key stakeholders, communities, and domestic and international financial institutions – and noting that this may require legislative reforms.

They focused on the importance of efficient and eco-friendly land, marine and transportation systems as critical to Fiji’s sustainable development; recognized the economic and social challenges created by a lack of consistent electricity supply and the need for greater electricity capacity and connectivity, to investigate more effective potential public private partnerships and to focus on renewable and climate resilient energy sources.

The summit endorsed evidence-based policy making as critical to decision-making, and called upon Government to reinvigorate the institutional and planning machinery of each Ministry and its coordination and linkage to the national strategic development policy and planning machinery; and agreed to continue the twelve thematic working groups as a basis of continued consultation and dialogue.

Professor Prasad says a wide cross-section of the community and stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, academia, and industry leaders were invited to participate and contribute towards this important national policy dialogue and consultation process.

He says these discussions will help inform the Government’s short, medium, and long term policies and strategies.

Koroi urges participants at Economic Summit to look at indigenous participation as an opportunity for iTaukei

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Friday 21/04/2023
Fijian Holdings Limited CEO Joji Koroi. [Image: Fiji Government]

Fijian Holdings Limited CEO Joji Koroi has called on participants of the National Economic Summit that they should look at more indigenous Fijian participation in business as 75 percent of the iTaukei are living in poverty and 45 percent of these are those living in rural areas.

While presenting on the Indigenous Participation Development at the summit, Koroi says the rural sector has untapped resources like land, mineral, forestry, fishing, and agriculture, and approximately 91 percent of the land is owned by the iTaukei.

He says what they are suggesting is an inclusive approach with resource owners to unlock this potential that can benefit the country.

He adds apart from economic growth, it also helps in the diversification of Fiji’s economy, the equitable distribution of wealth, and national stability.

The FHL CEO says one of the key limitations is the lack of data or the availability of data for effective policy formulation, and this should be immediately prioritised.

Koroi says some key challenges for the sector are the burden of increasing costs borne by rural customers, accessibility, lack of practical/relevant skills sets and experience, understanding relevant laws, lack of knowledge in financial literacy and commercial perspectives and bureaucracies.

He says six areas have been discussed as a way forward that includes the review of all iTaukei legislation, joint approach to development by iTaukei institutions, natural resource development, the establishment of commercial centres in rural areas including Vunisea in Kadavu, Naqara in Taveuni, Nabiuwalu in Bua, Keiyasi in Navosa, Seaqaqa in Macuata, Vunidawa in Naitasiri, Savusavu Blue Town and Dada in Namosi.

He further says women's and youths participation in businesses should be strengthened.

He also suggested a national census and government ministries capture and disclose ethnicity data and the iTaukei land grant be retained and increased.

Fiji has not had a energy policy endorsed by cabinet since 2006 - Syngellakis

By Naveel Krishant
Friday 21/04/2023
Katerina Syngellakis

It is time now after 17 years to have a new energy policy for Fiji.

This was stated by Katerina Syngellakis at the National Economic Summit.

Syngellakis says Fiji has not had an energy policy endorsed by cabinet since 2006.

She adds this is not helping the energy sector in its planning.

Syngellakis highlighted that energy is the driver of the economy for all sectors.

She adds we cannot achieve the planned GDP growth, without addressing the issues arising in the energy sector.

Syngellakis says the private sector has the potential to bring in millions of dollars in investment.

Vodafone, Telecom, HFC Bank, Reserve Bank, Venu Shipping & Fiji Care Insurance sponsored Economic Summit – Gounder

By Rashika Kumar
Friday 21/04/2023
Permanent Secretary for Finance Shiri Gounder. [Image: Fiji Government]

Vodafone Fiji, Telecom Fiji, HFC Bank, Reserve Bank of Fiji, Venu Shipping and Fiji Care Insurance provided sponsorship to the National Economic Summit.

This has been confirmed by the Permanent Secretary for Finance Shiri Gounder at the conclusion of the Summit.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad has said that a detailed report on the expenses and sponsors will be provided after the summit.

Meanwhile, Gounder has also thanked 8 USP students who were part of the discussions, actively participated in the thematic groups and helped them with the note taking and assisting with other logistics.

He says the Ministry of Finance will now ensure that the inclusion of youth and students are part of their way of doing business at the Ministry of Finance as they want to give this opportunity to more students and youth for them to get involved, learn and contribute as they are future leaders.

National Economic Summit calls for the review of the minimum wage

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 22/04/2023
[Photo: File]

The two day National Economic Summit that ended yesterday acknowledged with concern the increasing cost of living and the slow growth in real incomes.

In one of the resolutions, the summit has called on the private sector to share the burden and responsibility of easing the cost of living on society, especially in an environment of global economic and geo-strategic uncertainties.

A call has also been made to review the minimum wage considering commercial realities, the cost of living and the welfare of Fiji’s working poor.

They have also emphasized the need to review price regulation in order to effectively address the cost of living due to higher inflation and have urged income support to households to address cost of living and the welfare of the low income households.

It has further emphasized the importance of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission to effectively monitor prices of food prices and regulate and enforce against instances of unfair trade practices and pricing.

Need to investigate the quality of Fiji’s students advancing to higher and advanced education – Economic Summit

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 22/04/2023
Delegates listening to a presentation at the 2 day National Economic Summit that concluded yesterday [Photo: Fiji Government]]

There is an urgent need to investigate the quality of Fiji’s students advancing to higher and advanced education and the impact of Fiji’s current primary and secondary education curriculum on these issues.

This was one of the resolutions at the conclusion of the two day National Economic Summit.

They also acknowledged the quality of education which has been neglected over the years due to an over emphasis on student enrollment in schools with less emphasis on lifelong skills training which will enable students to deal with the existing and future challenges.

They have called for a strong partnership between Government and the community in the delivery of cost-effective education at primary, secondary and higher education levels.

It also noted Government’s intention to convene a National Education Summit.

Intermittent electricity supply disruptions identified as a major concern

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 22/04/2023
[Photo: iStock Images]

The National Economic Summit has recognized the intermittent electricity supply disruptions in urban centres as a major concern to the business community and households.

In one of its resolutions, the Summit has called on government to address this national issue with urgency, and to investigate potential public private partnerships, renewable and climate resilient energy sources.

It has also recommended incentives such as tariffs and the efficient facilitation of land accessibility by the iTaukei Land Trust Board and Ministry of Lands to support renewable energy generation under profit sharing contractual agreements.

They have recognized the energy sector as a key driver to achieve Fiji’s economic transformation agenda.

National Economic Summit acknowledges Fiji has a serious road congestion problem

By Naveel Krishant
Sunday 23/04/2023
[Photo: File]

The National Economic Summit has acknowledged that Fiji has a serious road congestion problem, particularly in relation to the increasing ratio of vehicles to total national and urban roads network.

They have urged Government to consider short and medium-term improvements in the road infrastructure network and management systems to support Fiji’s economic transformation over the next 10 years and in the long term.

In one of its resolutions, it has acknowledged that special consideration to the demands for sustainable transportation development, noting that an efficient and eco-friendly transportation system is critical to Fiji’s sustainable development pathway.

They have also underscored the urgency to improve the maintenance of Fiji’s maritime infrastructure facilities to facilitate efficient maritime transportation and harness the commercial potential available in maritime zones.

It also noted the importance of fuel-efficient air transportation as a key contributor to Fiji’s competitiveness as a tourism and travel destination.

National Economic Summit highlights the growing concern over the abuse of women, youth and children

By Naveel Krishant
Monday 24/04/2023

The National Economic Summit has highlighted the growing concern over the abuse of women, youth and children as a serious national issue.

In one of it resolutions it has reminded government of Fiji’s commitment to UN Conventions on women and children and the need to ensure that this needs a pro-active cross sectoral development approach.

They have encouraged a national multi-pronged and cross-sectoral inclusive approach on the prevention of abuse against women and children, and the empowerment of women, children, youth, and persons with disability in all facets of nation building.

It has acknowledged that almost half of Fiji’s population comprise of women, with half residing in rural areas and noted that policies and programmes need to be evidence-based and tailored towards improving the economic security, health and well-being of women in society.

National Economic Summit Communique

National Economic Summit Resolutions

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