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Racism has destroyed the sugar industry

Racism has destroyed the sugar industry

Tue, 6 Feb 2001 14:09:32 +1200


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Racism has destroyed sugar industry - expert

Racism in Fiji has destroyed the Fiji sugar industry, says a former FSC employee.

The employee, who held a senior management position for many years before leaving FSC, was commenting on reports that the FSC is expecting a multi-million dollar loss during this financial year.

He stated that racism set in the FSC during the Alliance Party days when the Ratu Mara government did everything possible to get ethnic Fijians in positions of authority "irrespective of whether they had the necessary qualifications and experience or not". He stated that the appointment of Mr Galuinadi to the post of Managing Director marked the "institutionalisation of racism in the FSC and the decline of the industry".

The problem in FSC, he stated, is because people have been given positions and responsibilities on the basis of race and not merit. They have, through incompetence and negligence, let the FSC slip to a stage where it now requires millions of dollars to be bailed out. "It is another NBF scandal, but this time it is not because of loans but because of racism and incompetence" that the company is sinking, he stated.

Meanwhile, the interim regime's Sugar Minister, Kaliopate Tavola has stated that the "collapse of the industry would have a drastic effect on the economy", and that the industry "cannot be allowed to go under."

He further stated: "Sugar plays a huge role in providing employment and foreign currency and creates many other benefits for Fiji." He said that the FSC, which is the hub of the industry, is very vulnerable at this stage and has suffered losses and was having difficulty raising finance. He revealed that the Government would do everything possible to help FSC deal with its difficulties. He said that to this end, the regime had allocated $8.5 million in the 2001 budget as a soft loan to the corporation for improving mill and rail efficiency.

Tavola further stated that the regime was looking at ways to diversify the "economy from cane to other agricultural commodities suitable for large scale production"


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