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More Fiji businesses close

More Fiji businesses close

Tue, 20 Feb 2001 09:28:32 +1200

PEOPLE'S COALITION GOVERNMENT, FIJI Issue No: 497 20 February 2001

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More businesses close and workers laid-off

At least two major factories closed over the weekend laying off an estimated 1,000 workers.

A leading garment factory in Lautoka, Trident, closed for business at the end of last week and removed all its machines. The machines were reportedly packed in containers bound for other countries. It employed 600 workers.

Another garment factory, Ryder Pacific, was also reportedly closing its operations yesterday. It employed 400 people.

The latest closures come as a major embarrassment to the regime which only last week stated that it was creating more jobs. In a media statement, the regime claimed it was creating more jobs. It was responding to the People's Coalition Government's statement that over 18,000 people have lost their jobs since 19 May, and that the Qarase regime has been unable to create new jobs or ensure that the laid off workers are re-employed.

Fiji is at the point of a major economic catastrophe. Investor confidence is extremely low and investment is at a standstill. The regime claims it has approved investment projects, but as is widely known, such approvals have remained on paper.

Meanwhile, prices have continued to increase. Inflation is expected to run to a high of 7% this year, compared to the negative figures during the People's Coalition Government reign.

To add to the woes, the regime approved major increases in the prices of kerosene and diesel effective yesterday. [A minor reduction in unleaded petrol and pre-mixed outboard fuel was also made] Today's Daily Post responded with a hard-hitting criticism of the Prices and Incomes Board and the oil "cartel" in Fiji. The last fuel price increase was in November.

The fuel price increase has raised questions on the transparency of the increase. Never in Fiji's history was a price increase made effective on Mondays. Sundays are not working days. Approving an increase on Fridays for it to be effective on Mondays is fraught with problems of information leakage and hoarding. It is believed that the timing of the increase was made to coincide with the Fiji Court of Appeal sitting so as to deflect attention from the increase.


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