Northern development to build resilient infrastructure - Gavoka

Northern development to build resilient infrastructure - Gavoka

By Rashika Kumar
Monday 20/05/2024
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism Viliame Gavoka

The tourism development plan in the North is to mobilise investments, build resilient infrastructure and essential services, create a more enabling business environment and enhance institutional coordination.

While delivering his ministerial statement in parliament, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism Viliame Gavoka says they are looking at a total funding of US$100 million spread over a period of 10 years and this will be broken down in three phases.

He says phase 1 is valued at US$61.5 million and runs from year 1 to year 6 to set the foundation for sustainable development in Vanua Levu.

The Deputy Prime Minister says it will tackle major barriers to growth like insufficient transport infrastructure and essential services, uncoordinated plans, limited private sector and community engagement in the tourism sector.

He says concerning the airports, there was a study done last year that highlighted that an international airport in Vanua Levu is not feasible in the near future, however the project will support to ensure sustainable tourism growth are various investments in both Labasa and Savusavu airports to improve current facilities.

Gavoka says they should see the ATR landing in Matei, Taveuni but they need to extend the runway.

The Deputy Prime Minister says the concept design has been completed and land acquisition is required.

He says dialogue is happening with the Fiji Airports Limited and the landowners.

Gavoka further says that phase 2 is valued at $70 million that will continue to build essential services and infrastructure and further enhance the environmental social, cultural sustainability of tourism assets. He says financial allocation will be overseen by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Tourism will be implementing the project. While responding to the Deputy Prime Minister’s statement, FijiFirst MP Alvick Maharaj says the Hibiscus Highway is about to be turned to gravel and has a tremendous amount of potholes.

He says before doing new development, the government should maintain the infrastructure that was done by the FijiFirst Government.

Minister for Works, Ro Filipe Tuisawau then raised a point of order and informed the parliament that work is being done on the road.

Maharaj further says the Vanua Levu economy does not depend on tourism and this was proven during COVID as it was unaffected.

Maharaj says they need to fix the agriculture sector, rice, food processors and the grog market and the sugar cane industry to build the economy.

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