October 09, 2012

Expect investments

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, October 09, 2012

EXPECT more investments and an upward trend in economic growth rate as the country moves to elections in 2014.

This is the view of economist Professor Biman Prasad while addressing participants at the USP's Faculty of Business and Economics Fiji Update in Nadi last Friday.

Prof Prasad said despite government initiatives and policies to stimulate economic growth, the results had not been forthcoming.

"However, the current climate will change as we move towards 2014," he said.

"As the country marches towards democratic elections, there will be a change in attitude towards investment. There have been a lot of positive indicators since the last two quarters but we must take very cautiously the projected 2.7 per cent growth announcement made by government.

"I think the original forecast of 2.3 per cent is more realistic compared to the revised one."

Prof Prasad said to improve efficiencies and rebuild the economy, urgent public sector reforms were critical and the move towards elections must be decisive.

"The public sector is too lethargic.

"To incite enthusiasm from potential investors we need improvements and improvements in service.

"We also need to go to 2014 decisively. Preparations for the 2014 elections should start immediately to further boost confidence."

Resident representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Pacific Island Countries (PICs) Doctor Yongzheng Yang said while growth had been relatively slow, Fiji's was higher than other Pacific Islands but far below other smaller states, especially in recent years.

"Factors affecting Fiji's growth is distance from trade countries and the biggest factor is investment. However, it must be noted that political instability is a big issue in investment," he said.

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