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Union questions appointments

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, October 13, 2017

THE National Farmers Union has called into question the Fiji Sugar Corporation's recent appointment of six new managerial staff.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, union general secretary and former prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, said at a time when the industry was faced with climate and financial challenges, the FSC was continuing to take on staff unchecked.

"The current (sugarcane) crop is now estimated at 1.7m tonnes," he said.

"This is a substantial drop from the 2.046 million tonnes announced at the beginning of the year.

"It translates into a sugar shortfall of about 35,000 tonnes which is virtually one shipment of sugar.

"This is bad news for the industry as well as the economy and is likely to have an impact on the Reserve Bank's growth figures for the year necessitating a downward revision."

Mr Chaudhry made further claims that the FSC was in dire financial straits.

He claimed the miller owed $15 million to the South Pacific Fertiliser Company — this was from fertiliser bought by farmers.

Mr Chaudhry claimed the money was deducted by FSC from payments made to growers, however, it had not been passed on to SPF.

The union general secretary also claimed FSC had defaulted on its $5m industry contribution to the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji.

"There is a disturbing lack of transparency in the operations of the corporation.

"FSC's annual general meeting is long overdue.

"It has not published its financial accounts for 2016 and the 2017 report is now due. Two years accounts are now due."

The new positions at FSC are: Chief operating officer, chief corporate officer, chief financial officer and chief communications officer.

In addition, there is a general manager engineering services, general manager mill operations, corporate officer supply chain and logistics.

Mr Chaudhry also made claims FSC was also looking at creating the post of chief Agricultural officer and looking to appoint three District Agricultural Officers.

A copy of the NFU statement was sent to FSC on Wednesday.

FSC chief executive officer Mr Clark has maintained that he would not respond to third party statements made public through the media.

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