THE Australian Pacific Training Centre (APTC) has revealed that only 7 per cent of the 4 million euro ($F9.99m) given by the European Union to assist in the upskilling of sugarcane growers will be used for administration purposes.
Responding to queries from this newspaper on how much money would go directly to aid canegrowers, the APTC said in a statement that the amount was only a small portion of the total.
"This program is aimed at supporting people affected by Fiji's sugarcane industry restructuring with alternative livelihood opportunities," the centre stated.
"Additional funding from the EU for the APTC program of 4 million euro ($F9.99m) will enable up to 1500 Fijians to benefit from such high quality training.
"This will be targeted to Fijians in areas affected by the sugarcane restructuring, to improve the livelihood of sugarcane-dependent populations in Fiji.
"The training will support those people to generate income through alternative livelihoods.
"It will also support local businesses through rental of student accommodation, provision of training consumables and utilities.
"Only 7 per cent of the EU's funds will contribute to the administration costs of the APTC."
The APTC added it was also important to note that the centre employed 200 Australian and Pacific Islander trainers, tutors and administrative staff, which also included 106 Fijians.
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama last week said he was disappointed and concerned that the EU chose to channel the funds to APTC.
"It is also unclear as to how this training through the APTC will complement government's revival of the sugarcane industry or, conversely, how it will tie in with the national policies on targeted development and creating sustained livelihoods," he had said in a statement released last week.
As part of its Accompanying Measures Support Program, the EU funds are aimed at minimising the impact of the end of preferential quotas for sugar imports beginning in 2017.
Commodore Bainimarama said the funds would have been better served if given to institutions such as the FNU.