Constitution Consultation will Help Economy

The announcement of the Constitution consultation will have a direct bearing on improving Fiji’s economic growth, says Economist Professor Biman Prasad.

Professor Prasad said historically, Fiji’s economic growth has been linked closely with political stability. He said looking  back at Fiji’s economic history for the last 25 years, one would  note that there was an average of only two to 2.5 percent economic growth. Prof Prasad said the first period of political instability adversely affecting  the economy was only  offset when political dialogue commenced between 1994 and 1995.

“The result of that 25 years of stagnation is the poverty and other social issues that we have in the country today and not because of the past five years. I think we need to understand that.

“That is why, from an economic point of view, the announcement of the Constitutional consultations is a very, very good one. In fact, the start of the work on the Constitution itself can generate the kind of confidence in the economy which is needed.

“And, with proper process of taking this consultation forward and arriving at a Constitution on which there would be elections in 2014, we could set the foundations from this year for our economic growth,” Prof Prasad said.

He said that despite the fact that the country had been affected by the floods, from the last quarter of this year, the economic forecast was favourable.“We could be creating a foundation that at least by the last quarter of this year will see reasonable growth being achieved by 2013 leading up to 2014,” he said.

“We have had very poor economic growth over the last 25 years and when we look at the economic future of the country, we need to think about why we had not been able to achieve sustained growth in the country. I believe the answer in closely linked with political instability,” he said.

Prof Prasad also applauded the  2012 Budget, which he says was a ‘bold budget’.

“The intentions of the Budget were very good with huge tax cuts. The expectation was that there would be more investment and more consumption. That assumption rested on a number of things, one of which was confidence in the future.

“The Constitution consultation process is one step that could restore that kind of confidence over the next several months, which would help us to create an environment where we could increase the level of investment in the country,” he said.
By Jyoti Pratibha (slightly amended)


Fanciful rubbish said…
Let me get this right? A so called constitution commission with members such as peni moore are going to boost the economy? With such nonsensical rubbish the future of Fiji is very dismal indeed? And will the great free market democrat Barr be the treasurer in this fanciful utopia? Fijian children deserve better than to be in the hads of fools and thugs with guns.
Heaps of wishful thinking! said…
My goodness! Heaps of wishful thinking here. The measured evidence is quite otherwise. The damage has been done and whatever escaped has been mowed down by flood waters.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Fanciful rubbish... You chose your name well. Prof Prasad did not say this. What he did say was that the announcement of the Commission would boost condfidence, and a boosted confidence would help growth. You shortcut the linkage causing (con)fused thinking.
Anonymous said…
@fanciful rubbish. No dear one. What he means is ( in words of no more than three syllables) that with the prospect of legal certainty there will be greater confidence in Fiji which will lead to investment.
Political instability said…
There is no increase in Political stability or certainty. We do not know how the military and Bainimarama will react if they do not get the result they want. Until the role of the military is decided we cannot talk about any political stability in Fiji. We may find ourselves in 2014 with Qarase elected as PM and Bainimarama accepting his role a leader of the opposition. Or we might find Qarase elected as PM and removed by Bainimarama.

No one I know is planning on any major investments until months after the elections when the true direction of Fiji is somewhat clearer.
Anonymous said…
@ political

I would be happy to bet a whole lot of money that
1. Frank will not accept Qarase being elected PM
2. There is no Frank would become opposition leader. Have you ever heard him debate anything
3. If Frank runs ( I think he will) he will make sure he wins. He will not risk anyone from the past seeking retribution like he did when he took power.
Anonymous said…
The Prof is politely saying what we all know. The Coup has been a dissaster for the economy and no amount of spin can cover that. Therefore any return to normal or legal is a good thing for the long term.
Anonymous said…
@political instability.
I am sure that you know all the really rich people, but All Whom I Know are in fact already investing! They were doing so even before the Commission was appointed, perhaps because they have greater faith in a non- racist, non- Duavata Initiatives environment! So you know some who don't invest, and I know some who do. What does that prove? Very little. It just depends on Who You Know.
Fanciful rubbish said…
With the abjectly absurd and immature responses to my clearly stated view I rest my case.
We all want the economy to improve, as we all want to return to the rule of law. Perhaps a real start would be to dismantle the military and invest this wasted money into health and education for the children of Fiji?
Out of Context professor said…
This 'professor' has failed to contextualise his arguments properly. He hasn't interrogated the performance of the Qarase Government to explain why we are where we are. This is important in any analysis about Fiji. Its absence leaves a gaping hole. From this paper one gets the impression that Fiji was a perfect democracy before the 2006 coup? Is that so?

'Professor' Prasad is an economics professor. Maybe he doesn't understand concepts of democracy so well. But EC101 tells us that economics and forms of government are intertwined.

So the professor's analysis lacks depth and balance. It doesn't offer any real or new insights, as observed by some in this discussion. We need fresh, balanced insights. Recycling stale, same old stuff will not help get Fiji out of the coup cycle. professors should know this and do their research thoroughly.
Political Instability said…
@Anonymous 11.47

The Reserve Bank of Fiji obviously knows the same people as I do, because in its latest briefing it talks about investment levels being very low.

So we can assume one of the following:

1- The rich folk you know are investing overseas.
2- They are investing in the black market economy
3- They are not being truthful with you.

Whichever way you look at it their investments are not being picked up by the Reserve Bank.
Enough bullshit said…
Just in case you regime critics dont know the world is in a economic depression. Even if Qarase and all the GCC thieves were still in power our economy would still be in the same mess or worse. After all the SDL/GCC/Methodist Government doubled our national debt in 5 years, succesive Governments from independence never borrowed so much. my suggestion is to get a job and stop waiting for the gravy train to come back.
What about national debt? said…
@ Enough bullshit and out of context prof...

How come crucial issue that Qarase Government doubled Fiji's national debt in 5 years - a record - is missing from the learned professors's analysis? This is unbelievable. Surely a professor in economics understands the significance of national debt? No self-respecting professor in economics would leave vital information.

Surely premier tertiary institute in the Pacific USP can do better than this.

Maybe its tome to retire some USP professors who can't deliver and we turn to Fiji National University, which is looking more energetic and credible by the day and will serve taxpayers better.
political instability said…
@Enough Bullshit

Fiji’s performance of economic growth needs to be compared with its neighbours the other South Pacific Islands countries. According to the IMF Fiji comes bottom of the table.

We are behind economic powerhouses like Kiribati, Tuvalu.

We are way behind economic giants like Solomons and Samoa.

And as for PNG their growth in the past 5 years has been bigger than our whole GDP.

Under Bainimarama Fiji has enjoyed its worst economic performance ever.
The Devil is now within..... said…
Who is investing? And who knows them? What a lot of cobblers! They are cobbling away each and every day - right under our very noses.

Those who have money to invest have, in the main, come by it through dubious means. They have either laundered it or made it while conducting their business (es) in an egregiously improper manner. There is evidence of this daily around us. They have been aided and abetted by legislation which is not only arbitrary but also anti-free markets. No need to crow about the conspicuous investors many of whom have tie-ups to openly organised crime. There is a bevy of organised crime investors: innovative, creative and imaginative and using 'force majeure' whenever it pleases them. A killing or two or even three is not beyond their capacity. These bold killings will increase.

Who is to stop them? The Devil is now within.

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