April 3, 2009

Fiji need best minds on the economy

We need best minds on the economy
www.fijisun.com.fj - 4/3/2009

It is time to think about the financial crisis we’re now facing and the economic future of this nation we are proud to call home.
Fiji is beginning to feel the twin impact of the global economic crisis, and the financial fallout from the political crisis here.
But we wonder if our current leaders are getting all the advice that could help in these tough times.
We have highly qualified economic and business experts. The country needs their help.
Such experts, irrespective of their political affiliations, should be asked to advise on the best way forward.
Obviously some, perhaps many, will not want any formal appointment from the interim Government. They will not want to be hit by the post-coup sanctions enforced by Australia and New Zealand.
But this nation, proud to have nurtured some of the region’s best economic and business brains, needs good, workable ideas quickly.
Not for the sake of the interim Government. But for the long-term future of Fiji.
Personal politics and agendas should be put aside to help ease the pain ahead. There needs to be a genuine commitment by all to see that the people do not feel lasting economic pain.
There are alarming warning signs. More people will lose their jobs this year, poverty will rise and the economy contract.
A just released Asian Development Bank Outlook Report says: “There are indications that the incidence of poverty is rising, a result of long-term declines in the sugar and clothing industries, the impact of several coups, and, more recently, external shocks that raised food and fuel prices and further undermined growth.”
It said pockets of deep poverty are found in town squatter settlements and more widespread poverty is apparent in rural areas.
It underscores that our economy needs much more than a political settlement.
Reforms are needed to create a better climate for private sector development to create jobs and exports, it stresses.
All this as the global economic crisis continues, and our own political crisis adds to the problems.
Our priority now must include to save our economy and not just political settlement to advance Fiji to democratic rule.
The two are obviously inter-linked.
But the way things are going we cannot afford to wait for a political settlement before we use all skills available to address the economic challenges.
We need all our best business and economic minds, no matter what their political views, working on this. Right now.
Carry on against corruption
Returning from his six-day visit to India, interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama opened the FICAC (Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption) website.
He did so with the strong message that his Government will eradicate corruption in Fiji.
He said the interim Government pursued the clean-up campaign
to rid the country of corruption and bring about reforms that stop corruption growing.
The campaign would continue in Government departments, the business community and wherever corruption rears its ugly head.
Everyone who cares about a better Fiji will welcome this.
Corruption respects no borders, knows no economic distinctions and can infect all forms of government. In the long run, no country can afford the social, political or economic costs that corruption entails.
There is no place for corruption in Fiji.
Corruption is one of the biggest problems today in the developing world.
It takes many forms.
Let us all support the fight against it. Use the new FICAC website (www.ficac.org.fj) to report suspicious dealings or activities.

No comments: