Positive spill-overs

NEAR-term economic activity is expected to be buoyed by infrastructure projects such as the Damodar City Centre project in Suva, upgrade of Nadi International Airport and various large hotel and resort developments, which will have positive spill-overs to the tourism-related sectors, says ANZ Pacific and Fiji CEO Vishnu Mohan.

He said multi-laterals (the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asia Development Bank) and bi-laterals (Australia and New Zealand) were keen to get aid back in the country.

“This will be in the form of large infrastructure projects and will be aimed at re-establishing stronger links with the country.”

He said private investment was essential to sustain broad-based economic growth and ensure fiscal sustainability in the medium-term.

Mr Mohan said this was in addition to the increased government expenditure on infrastructure investment.

“Tourist arrivals have risen strongly since the start of the year, supported by improving global economic conditions as well as relatively firm currencies in New Zealand and Australia — the two main sources of tourists.

“We are anticipating an uptick in activity post the election, leading to higher inflows of foreign investment.

“In the last quarter, rating agencies have upgraded the outlook for Fiji from stable to positive. Maintaining the momentum around Fiji’s public enterprise reform agenda also holds the key to the nation’s long-term economic prosperity, creating opportunities for private investment, increasing efficiencies in service delivery and reducing the cost of doing business.”

Mr Mohan said Fiji had been reforming its state-owned enterprises for about 20 years and had more recently achieved excellent traction in this area.

An example of this, he said, was in the public-private partnership between the Fiji Ports Corporation and Sri Lanka’s top-end blue chip company, Aitken Spence, in 2013.

He said Aitken Spence took a 51 per cent stake in the state-owned Fiji Ports Terminal Ltd and controlled Fiji’s two largest ports — Suva and Lautoka — for a period of 15 years.

“They recorded an increase in its efficiencies by 35 per cent within a short span of two months,” he said.

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