Just days after forecasting a modest economic growth of 2% next year for Fiji, the Reserve Bank Governor Sada Reddy had to retract his words.
Addressing civil servants and the business community at the public and private sectors consultative forum on the 2010 Budget to be announced in November, Reddy painted a gloomy picture of the economy unless the private sector increases productivity.
Reddy told the forum the economy is going nowhere unless in the next three years:
- Tourist numbers reach 1.5 million per year
- Sugar production increases to 300,000 tonnes per annum
- Reliance on imports of agricultural commodities like rice, milk, potatoes and meet is substantially reduced
Critics say Reddy should stop misleading the people of Fiji and should take
a leaf from the book of his predecessor Savenaca Narube who at the end of February this year told a Rotaract Club of Suva seminar the only growth industry in Fiji was committees being set up to study and review policies, like the pre-2010 consultative forum.
While making tall orders for tourism and sugar as well as lecturing the business community to reduce imports, Reddy failed to suggest how the tourist industry can increase visitor arrivals,and how the financially stricken sugar industry already lamenting the loss of $172 million in valuable European Union grant to farmers can increase sugarcane crop to produce 300,000 tonnes of sugar.