Bainimarama's Northern Tour, China Unsettles Oz, Aid, Tourism Dollar

BAINIMARAMA'S NORTHERN TOUR. It's interesting what the PM's provincial tours reveal other than necessary but huge rural infrastructure spending. For the North, this included roads, small loans access, phone coverage and bauxite mining in Bua as reported on Friday. And in Cakaudrove new and upgraded roads, rural electrification and upgraded Savusavu and Taveuni hospitals.

But from Macuata we also again learn of concerns about illegal logging that seems to be linked to bribes and corruption. Nothing seems to have been done to rout it out since the PM's last visit. And from Cakaudrove we learn about rumblings and animosity among the vanua, though what exactly the media did not report. Commissioner Northern LtCol Inia Seruiratu did, however, tell the people to sort out their own problems, saying that Government will only step in only when needed.

“Government respects chiefly decisions that holds the people together,” he said. Government interference could add to animosity. “We don’t want to spoil the relationship that exists between the people and their vanua. Development should bring about improved living standards and not animosity." So the Government is not against chiefs per se, afterall Bainimarama is also a chief, just chiefs who  abuse their people's trust.


CHINA TIES WILL UNSETTLE AUSTRALIA. ANU's Prof.John Warhurst says China's efforts to be more influential in the South Pacific will unsettle Australia.He says, "What has happened in Fiji over the last 10 or 15 years now with the number of coups probably leads Australian policy-makers and the general community to throw their hands up and say 'look, this is beyond our doing anything about it'. The question of a superpower like China injecting itself into the Pacific I think would have long-term worries for Australia," Warhurst said. He thinks China could undermine a region that is already destabilized, while a greater role for Beijing in the South Pacific might overshadow Australia's role as the biggest power in the neighborhood.

The remarks were made in light of Bainimarama's comment while visiting China last week that he is prepared to abandon his country's traditional political ties in the region in favor of China. He stressed, however, that Fiji will continue to trade with New Zealand and Australia.

OZ AID.
Australia has donated a $40,000 fibreglass boat, the “Vuniwai ni Beqa,” and three vehicles to the Health Department. The boat will be used for medical purposes serving the islands of Beqa and Yanuca, of the Navua-Pacific Harbour coast, and the vehicles for use by the typhoid campaign in the Northern, Western and Eastern Divisions.  The handing over ceremony last week at the Health Headquarters included the donation of three vehicles to help in the Ministry of Health typhoid campaign.--  Based on 2010 No:1285/MOI.

ADB/GOVERNMENT HELP WATER AUTHORITY.The Fiji government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have assisted the Water Authority of Fiji with a $23 million loan to revamp the Waila water treatment plant.

HOTEL OCCUPANCY RATES have returned to the normal 60%, up from 40% over the past two years, and Reserve Bank Governor, Sada Reddy is calling on the hotel industry to invest now to ensure a good mix of rooms as tourism increases further over the next two to three years.

LESS THAN A HALF OF A TOURIST DOLLAR
. Sada Reddy  also expressed dissatisfaction that Fiji retains only about 44 cents of tourism dollar compared with developing countries, 50-60 cents, and advanced countries, between 80-90 cents. Fiji's low rate is largely due to leakages through loss of VAT from packaged tours, borrowings from foreign banks and foreign ownership of the large hotels.

"Almost all service provided to packaged tours are of a domestic nature, excluding Air Pacific. Therefore VAT should be payable on all domestic services. Unfortunately, Fiji has been losing out on the VAT revenue for packaged tours. Government should study this issue and see how they can plug this leakage."

Comments

Anonymous said…
Please Sada....

Sada can never let an opportunity pass to have a go at the tourism industry. Just like former finance minister Mahen. While highlighting the greater occupancy he jumps on his old hobby horse of 'leakage'. By this he means every dollar spent in Fiji does not stay in Fiji. Well Sada if fiji produced oil that would help, if we grew everything that would help, if Fiji had no foreign investment and no foreign hotels that would help (no one would have any expenses) but then again i guess Fiji wouldn't have a tourism industry then.

Oh and then there is his little dig at the commerical banks. The ones he loves to hate but knows he needs. If it wasn't for loans we would have less leakage. Really ? If it wasn't for loans do you think many tourism opperators would have survived the devastating impact of the 2006 Coup ? We must not also forget that Fiji had it's own bank and Sada was involved in its supervision and it failed.

Sada and the RBF have been talking up import substituion and agriculture schemes - so why not report on their success. His micro finance master peice and other plans ? Why, because there is none. It's always window dressing from the RBF.
Anonymous said…
PM Tours the islands promising this and that...

Sounds a lot like the former PM to me. Next he will be providing boats around election time. If we ever have a election.
Anonymous said…
Since the PM has all this time and resoures to tour Fiji talking to provinces and promising this and that. Perhaps he could use his time and resources on starting some real change like a new constitution and getting ready for elections....not campaigning !
Anonymous said…
“We don’t want to spoil the relationship that exists between the people and their vanua"

uummm actually you do eg removal of communal voting, silencing of church. Removal of the great council etc etc.
Anonymous said…
More Half Truths from the RBF

I remember when you could rely on the RBF to at least give you the real story. Now we just get spin and personal veiws. The current RBF governor has always been anti-foreign companies, especially interantional banks and tourism operators. Apparently his only little operation is all OK. He hand crafted the the TV and DVD player in his own back yard so no leakage in that resort. He take a swipe at the banks for lending money to the tourism industry and calling that leakage ? Actually i was speaking to a bank executive the other day who said it was the banks retained earnings that are ensuring liquidity in the market. Not because they want to keep it here but caus' the RBF won't let them repatriate it.
Why is Anon allowed past the keeper? said…
Croz, having banned "anonymous" several months ago, you've allowed him/her back into the fold. If you're going to have site rules, they should be consistently enforced. Why have you allowed these comments to be posted? It's not just one or two but the whole comments section of this post.
sara'ssista said…
I am still intrigued as to how after four years there appears to 'still need fundamental reform' when there is no obstacle, no parliament, no independent judiciary an no opposition to speak of. Why then are there still issues , such as those from Sada Reddy as if there is some impediment that make change elusive? This a military regime that appears to anything it likes and apart from the bleating by cros that we should be 'mixing praise and criticism to encourage this regime', they appear to lack any will and the reason escapes me. Back to those comments by cros on another topic, you can praise this regime all you like but one criticism will see you shown the door. Try It. Even the supporters of four years honestly have no say over any of the detail or feel this regime have an open mind on anything. Now what ??
sara'ssista said…
I am still intrigued as to how after four years there appears to 'still need fundamental reform' when there is no obstacle, no parliament, no independent judiciary an no opposition to speak of. Why then are there still issues , such as those from Sada Reddy as if there is some impediment that make change elusive? This a military regime that appears to anything it likes and apart from the bleating by cros that we should be 'mixing praise and criticism to encourage this regime', they appear to lack any will and the reason escapes me. Back to those comments by cros on another topic, you can praise this regime all you like but one criticism will see you shown the door. Try It. Even the supporters of four years honestly have no say over any of the detail or feel this regime have an open mind on anything. Now what ??
Subsidised holidays said…
Croz
Can you get the junta to devalue again? We aussies are loving these dirt cheap holidays. I don't know who is subsidising us but tell them to keep up the good work!!
And we pay for it all here and most of the money stays in Australia - good business all round.
Proud Fijian said…
@ ANonymous

You said" Actually i was speaking to a bank executive the other day"

Makrava does not qualify as a bank executive.
Anonymous said…
While sweating our ----- in China, the Aussies have been busy providing new vehicles to our Ministry of Health.
Two Windfalls said…
@ China's attempts to further influence in the South Pacific will unsettle Australia...(Prof John Warhurst - ANU)

Well, China has been extending its influence in the South Pacific Region for well over ten years. But no one appeared to take a blind bit of notice so long as it was not in their immediate yard. Despite arson attacks on Chinese-owned enterprises in various island groups, large illegal influxes of Chinese nationals (with bags of cash to ban)in the 2000 attempted Coup d'etat and after, still no notice was taken. It is only now that it appears to 'unsettle Australia'. Yet, in 2001 an American academic based in a Washington DC Think Tank let it be known that the USA WAS alarmed. So what did they do about it? Bit late now to jump up and down? Makes them all look very silly and dilatory. In the meantime, the Show must go on. And...it has! Just have a look at both multi-million dollar Embassies. What a useful windfall for Fiji's economy. Might help us repay that dreadful US$150m loan the "others" so imprudently took out.

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