Tough times at FSC

NO other leader of the Fiji Sugar Corporation has had to handle the types of challenges that I have had to face, says former executive chairman and CEO Abdul Khan.

Responding to calls by political parties and growers organisations for him to be investigated, Mr Khan said people needed to acknowledge the situation he faced from the onset of taking the helm at the FSC.

“During my term as executive chair, the industry went through an unprecedented number of challenges,” Mr Khan said.

“The industry was just recovering from the 2009 floods and then in 2012 we had Tropical Cyclone Evan.

“This was followed by three more floods in the same year and then two years of prolonged dry weather in 2014 and 2015, followed by the biggest cyclone to have hit this country, TC Winston.

“Amidst all this, I also had to deal with the search for new markets for our sugar because of the decision made by the European Union that it was going to bring to an end the high prices we enjoyed for our sugar in October next year.

“These are unprecedented challenges. No other FSC head has had to go through what I went through and people need to understand that.”

The National Federation Party and Fiji Labour Party raised concerns about Mr Khan’s leadership style and what they claimed was his inability to consult with stakeholders before making decisions that affected the industry.

While making submissions to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economic Affairs during consultations on the Reform of the Sugar Industry Bill in May this year, the NFP said two pieces of legislation championed by Mr Khan — the Reform of the Sugar Cane Industry Bill and Sugar Cane Growers Fund Amendment Bill — were draconian and dictatorial in nature.

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