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.
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