Aim for growth

FIJI needs to continue investments in infrastructure, human capital, improve business and regulatory environment, and diversify exports if it hopes to achieve inclusive growth.

According to USP academic Baljeet Singh, targeted intervention that improved productivity gains in agriculture would also help to reduce poverty.

Speaking on the Fiji economic survey during the Fiji Economic Update 2014 forum organised by the university’s School of Economics in Suva yesterday, Mr Singh said Fiji should seek more productivity enhancing foreign direct investment to diversify its economy and develop its private sector, encourage technology transfer and improve competitive edge in external market.

“There is huge potential in agriculture and service sector such as tourism and IT related industry,” he said at the Holiday Inn.

“As the economy has not generated enough modern jobs for the increasing youth and poverty levels are still at high, significant youth are forced in informal sector. Government should focus on growth for employment creation.”

He said Fiji’s economic progress had been “extremely slow” since the beginning of the millennium, adding the country needed to look forward to much higher growth rates to create employment for the younger generation who would come into the workforce.

“For this to happen, new growth and development strategies are needed. While political reforms are underway, many more things need to happen simultaneously so that a pathway is determined towards these new strategies.”

Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics deputy permanent secretary Krishna Prasad said the economy was on track to achieve five years of consecutive growth, with a projection of 3.8 per cent for 2014.

In recent years, he said, Fiji’s growth had been supported by improved consumption, private investment and higher public sector spending.

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