Australian projects create thousands of jobs

By: Mika Loga

 

Screen shot 2014-10-31 at 5.20.47 PMA total of 226 Australian projects worth more than $1 billion have been registered in Fiji over the past six years.

And according to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, at least 99percent implemented during that same period have since created more than 1,000 jobs in the local economy.

He revealed this as he opened the Fiji Australia and Australia Fiji Business Council meeting this morning.

And with the critical economic ingredient of political stability now slowly settling in – it’s on with the business of growing business.

“The message is simple. Fiji is open for business. And there are great opportunities for those with the enterprise and foresight to take advantage of this new era of prosperity,” Bainimarama said.

Government now urging those holding back to join those already riding the wave of investment.

“The buzz of development is already being heard around the country, led by those who were attracted to Fiji because of my Government’s determination to install consistent and pro-growth policies. The boom has already begun and investors should be careful not to miss out.”

With a forecast growth of 3.8 percent this year and beyond, there is however acknowledgment that recent trade with Australia has slumped.

Our trade imbalance also a worry for Government.

“We import far more from Australia than we export to her. The vast majority of Fijian exports to Australia are of garments and gold, which if discounted, put our exports to Australia on par with our exports to New Zealand, which has an economy seven times smaller than Australia.”

Bainimarama says that trade imbalance can be changed with better market access.

“At the moment, two of our top priorities are for more Australian assistance to help our exporters meet the stringent quarantine and technical requirements, as well as for an extension of the SPARTECA TCF Scheme that includes an improvement of the rules of trade.

THE SPARTECA TCF scheme expires at the end of this year.

Extending it will be vital as it contributes $100 million to Fiji’s economy with thousands of jobs relying on it.

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