Key to recovery – Border reopening vital to move economy to the next level

Kameli Batiweti. Picture: FILE

Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation members are looking forward to when the domestic border opens first in Viti Levu followed by the reopening of international borders.

FCEF chief executive officer Kameli Batiweti said reopening of borders was the key to move the economy up to the next level. “So far, we have been very lucky with the domestic economy. But, to sustain growth, our economy needs the international border reopening,” he said.

Responding to questions, Mr Batiweti said FCEF’ members were adapting well to the new normal.

“Members are adapting very well, because there is a lot more time between close of business and the workers having to reach home.

“When the curfew was from 6pm, the members found it difficult because they had to close a lot earlier than normal. Not only did it affect productivity, but it affected business in general.”

With the extended curfew hours Mr Batiweti said businesses would benefit because now they would close as normal at 5pm, allowing their employees time to attend to personal details before making their way back home before the curfew.

“So, it is a win-win outcome for everyone.”

Mr Batiweti said while very few of FCEF’s members had reopened for business, mainly in the MSME space because of some cash flow problems, government’s $200 million loan facility would assist most of them.

“With Government’s decision to include the $200m loan facility in this year’s budget, many of these MSME businesses will take advantage of this offer and work towards reopening,” said Mr Batiweti.

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