Fiji Not a Lousy Place to Live, EU Mission Report, Economic Update, IMF Wants VAT Increase, Two Chiefly Forked Paths
VISIT THE RECORD 37 COMMENTS TO YESTERDAY'S POSTING.
FIJI HIGHER ON HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX. With the deluge of recently reported world indices, each of which has shown Fiji to be a lousy place to live, it is pleasing to see the recently released 2010 UNDP Human Development Index report shows Fiji has improved its ranking from 108th out of 169 countries to 86th. The composite index is widely regarded as the most meaningful measure of the quality of life because it takes into account factors such as life expectancy, education, gender equality, income and income equality. The HDI has been used since 1990 as an alternative or supplementary measure of national development, until then measured solely by economic criteria such as Gross National Product (GNP), Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and rates of economic growth.
Norway ranks number one in the world as the best country to live followed by Australia and New Zealand. Countries more comparable to Fiji, and their 2010 ranking, include Jamaica 80, Tonga 85, Maldives 110, Fed.States Micronesia 103, Indonesia 108, South Africa 110, Timor Leste 120, Solomon Is 123, PNG 137. Download the 2010 Report by clicking here.
EU MISSION ENDS VISIT. Last year Fiji lost its status as a fish exporter to the EU after their officials found deficiencies in Fiji's quality inspection authority. The situation is now thought to be rectified and Fiji hopes to again export fish to EU countries. Fiji's Solander Fishing Company has spent heavily on fixing its ships and five have now been classified as A-grade. In 2007, Fiji's total canned and frozen fish exports were worth around $100million, $3m more than the year before. For their overall report click here.
OVERALL ECONOMIC UPDATE. The Reserve Bank has announced that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth projection of 1.8% for 2010 is expected to be revised downwards due largely to declines in the agriculture sector, especially sugar. Weak performances were also experienced in transport, storage & communications, health and social work, real estate and business services and the community, social and the personal services sectors. The only industries that contributed positively through higher export values to this year’s growth so far were tourism, gold, timber and fish. Inflation fell to 1.1 percent in September, a marginal decline from 1.2 percent in August.The 2010 inflation forecast has been revised down to 4.0 percent.
IMF WANTS VAT INCREASE.The International Monetary Fund has recommended that VAT rates be increased in order to contain fiscal deficits and ensure a sustainable level of public debt which, at about 73% of GDP, constrains government's ability to cushion the economy against future shocks. So far Government has refused to increase VAT because it places a disproportionately heavy burden on the poor who, unlike the better-ff, have little to no discretionary expenditure.
TUI NAMOSI AND RO TEIMUMU. Former SDL Minister and Namosi high chief Ratu Suliano Matanitobua says the December 2006 Coup has happened and it is time to move on. He said he has left the events of the past in the past and he knows his people will suffer if he continues to work against government. He says he has made the decision for the sake of his people. He is calling on his people to support government and help move the country forward.
Ratu Suli's comment, made at last week's Provincial Council meeting, is ambiguous. He is calling for his people to support Government but seems to be doing so only because he thinks that if they don't, they'll miss out on development money. As far as I know there is no instance of this having happened to any province. If accurately reported, one wonders whether his approach is the same as that of Ro Teimumu who also last week welcomed Government's development work in Rewa province but continued to oppose the government in every other way.
Several government initiatives, including the Land Use Decree and the equal distribution of land lease money, will see chiefs, who used to take a bigger share, more than somewhat out of pocket. I wonder how many chiefs are playing liu muri.