Fijian Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum visited Rotuma where he held a talanoa session on the island on issues being faced by the islanders.
The A-G said along with certain infrastructure issues, one major issue raised with him was the ongoing problem of fruit flies and all of this will be brought to the attention of the relevant Ministries and Biosecurity of #Fiji.
During the talanoa session, the A-G briefed the chiefs of the island on the state of the economy and provided an update on the 2020 –2021 budget.
He highlighted that due to the pandemic, most of the major world economies have contracted quite significantly, including Fiji.
“We have lost a lot of jobs in the tourism sector and also in the airline industry too and we are of course talking to our development partners in respect of how we can open up the borders in various ways.”
The A-G also highlighted the blue lane initiative and how it has helped our tourism industry in getting back to some level of normalcy.
He explained to the islanders why the Government did not cut civil servant salaries even though the advice they were getting was that there would be a savings of $150 million if there’s a 10 per cent reduction.
“The Government as an employer decided not to do that but also what people do not understand is that we would have sucked $150m from the economy because there would be $150m less that people would be spending. When we have more money in the economy, it circulates and there’s robustness in the economy.”
“At the moment when you go to Viti Levu, most of these hotels have a “Love Your Locals” program where there is a lot of cheap rates and as a result a lot of the locals are using the hotels.
These hotels are telling us every time there’s Government pay week, they get more bookings so that means that they are using that opportunity,” the A-G said.“This means a lot more hotel workers get called in to work.”
The A-G took out time to listen to some of the issues brought up during the talanoa session, which was mostly related to infrastructure and amenities.These issues included roads, the hospital being built in Ahau and the telecommunication infrastructure on the island
.The A-G visited Ahau Government Station and toured the Ahau hospital that is being built on the island.
He also handed out the Fiji Day commemorative 50 cent coin to the respective school heads on the island.