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Fiji Economy grinds to a halt

Fiji Economy grinds to a halt

Tue, 13 Feb 2001 09:51:00 +1200

PEOPLE'S COALITION GOVERNMENT, FIJI Issue No: 473 13 February 2001

visit our website: http://www.pcgov.org.fj

Economy grinding to a halt

The country's economy is grinding to a halt as the effects of the terrorist takeover of the Parliament have spread.

Businessmen have said that their sales are continuing to fall. One wholesaler stated "business has never been as bad, not even after the 1987 coup. This year is even worse than last year. Now with the sugar season over, no one is placing orders. They are all waiting for the court ruling".

Retailers have also reported significant drops in sales. Labasa Chamber of Commerce's Shivlal Nagindas told the media that Labasa town is deserted. Most retailers say that other than for essential items, people are not spending any money. Thousands of workers have lost their jobs. Thousands more have had their wages cut or working hours reduced.

One also sees an increasing incidence of house mortgagee sale advertisements in newspapers.

The garment industry has also stated that orders from other countries have declined significantly. Today's Fiji Sun quotes the Chairman of the Textile, Garment and Footwear Industries, Ranjit Solanki as saying: "The problem had been going on since May 19 last year. But this year, it has gotten worse". He further stated that many of their overseas clients are not placing orders with them. "Many have opted to wait for next week's Court of Appeals sitting before they decide on whether to buy from Fiji".

Solanki, as well as Fiji-Australia Business Council's President Mark Halabe told the Sun that garment manufacturers are now reducing working hours for their workers and also considering laying off workers.

The tourism industry has also reported to be receiving the lowest visitor arrivals during the past 20 years.

One tourism industry personality stated: "This is the low season, but we have seen the lowest of all this year. Even a majority of tourists who come do not spend much. It was unheard of in the past few years when tourists would negotiate rates. They are not doing this. Many smaller hotels negotiate rates because the choice is getting some income rather than nothing. Many tourists in fact combine their business with a few days holidaying. This is bad for us."

A major hotel has also reportedly been put up for mortgagee sale during the past week.

Meanwhile, the regime has continued to believe that it can rehabilitate the economy. It has ignored the advice of investors that a return to democracy is the only way to get investors back to investing in Fiji.

END

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