Businessman plans to build cane plant

FORMER parliamentarian George Shiu Raj said he wants to build a new sugar mill in Rakiraki, because the industry was the backbone of the Ra economy.

The renowned businessman and prominent sugarcane grower said he had the support of a commercial bank to build a brand new mill and was looking for assurance from the FSC in terms of purchasing sugar produced at the new factory once it was up and running.

“I am not doing this for me, it is a huge burden to take on a multi-million investment of this size but I am willing to do it for the people of Ra,” he said.

“Unlike others who have gone to greener pastures when Ra was not doing so well, I remained committed and stayed here and built my businesses here because I am concerned about the welfare of my people.”

Fiji Sugar Corporation CEO Graham Clark said he was unaware of Mr Shiu Raj’s proposal and had not officially heard from the Rakiraki businessman.

“I do not know anything of his plans or how he intends to do this because he has not had the courtesy to contact me to discuss this proposal,” he said.

Mr Shiu Raj said the announcement by the FSC board this week to permanently shut down Penang had huge implications for Ra.

“Firstly, they (FSC board) need to be transparent and explain how they came up with the figure of $50 million,” he said.

“Secondly, they also need to let the public know if they did a proper study to see how the closure of Penang would impact on Ra.

“I’m not talking about the impact on sugarcane growers but also on the business community, market vendors, transport providers and the future development of Ra.”

Sugar Ministry permanent secretary Yogesh Karan said he would comment on Mr Shiu Raj’s proposal once he had been appraised on how he intended to go about the project.

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