Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the culture of corruption has still not gone from some of the business people.
Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted this while officiating at the Promex Consulting PTE Ltd Awards Night in Nadi.
He says 10 or 15 years ago, only a handful of companies got contracts and participated in infrastructure projects as there were large Government departments that were quite inefficient and those that did get the contracts, could only do so through corrupt means.
He says there was no open tendering process and even if there was, there were a lot of deals that were done behind the scenes.
Sayed-Khaiyum further says Government has always had the approach to liberalize the economy which not only means opening it up, removing tariff barriers and duties but it also means Fijian and expatriate companies can participate in a level playing field.
The Minister also highlighted that Government revenue has been stifled by the fact that our borders shut down and we did not have tourism, however, despite that, they made a policy decision to say that they will still continue with a lot of the infrastructure work because people still need access to roads, bridges, water and electricity.
He says the number of projects were perhaps reduced but the fact of the matter is, they still continued with it and would have been very easy for them to stop it as it would have significantly saved money in their books but the services to the people would have stopped.
Sayed-Khaiyum adds in the same way, even with this pandemic, they have continued with free education and medical services.
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