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Fiji Time: 5:13 AM on Sunday 27 July

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Ah Koy fits FTIB bill, says minister

Monday, March 26, 2007

LOCAL business tycoon Sir James Ah Koy is the new chairman of the Fiji Trade and Investment Bureau.

Interim Commerce Minister Taito Waradi confirmed the appointment.

The other four board members are businessmen Radha Gounder, William Situ, Immigration interim director Viliame Naupoto and Commerce permanent secretary Amena Yavoli.

Mr Waradi said Sir James was chosen to head the board because of his qualities and achievements.

"Our choice of him is basically based on his business acumen, achievement, leadership and international standing." Mr Waradi said.

"On the basis of this, the country needs him to lead the change to stabilise the economy in the area of exports, investments and to address the dwindling foreign reserve levels."

He said Fiji was already in a critical stage of having only three months worth of foreign reserves left.

Mr Waradi said the country was hovering in the danger zone and corrective measures needed to be taken now.

"Even though we're at this point, our imports are continuing to rise.

"We're living beyond our means in a sense.

"We need to cut down on expenses and increase exports.

"That's why we brought in Sir James," he said.

Mr Waradi said the interim Government was confident Sir James would be able to achieve these objectives.

"If anyone can deliver us out of the situation we're in, he can.

"He totally fit the bill perfectly," he said.

Sir James said his acceptance of the invitation was based on selfish motives and an interest in national preservation.

He said his renewed role at the FTIB was primarily to maintain and protect the present and future and help attract more new investments to Fiji.

"The economy is going bad for the present, there is no doubt about it.

"But this is not a time for Atlas to shrug," Sir James said.

He said he was referring to the philosopher Ayn Rand's classic novel Atlas Shrugged.

Sir James said those with talent and know-how must not evade their responsibilities and leave the nation to those who did not know what they were doing.

"Now is not the time to desert our investments and head for the hills, as Ayn Rand depicted in her novel Atlas Shrugged.


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