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Radio Fiji Contract Tender Will Lay Workers Off

Redundancies: Radio Fiji Contract Tender Will Lay Workers Off

SUVA: Redundancies are imminent at the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation should the Fiji Government give its public broadcasting contract to a new operator, the Fiji Sun reports.

Government has called for local and overseas broadcasters to tender for a three-year contract to take over public broadcasting services from 1 January 2001.

The current contract, which expires at the end of next month, has been held by FBC since 1997.

Information Ministry Secretary Vuetasau Buatoka said the tender move was aimed at giving opportunities to people who would provide "quality broadcast services".

"We want value for our money and we are confident we will give the contract to the best tender," Buatoka said.

The succesful tender is expected to provide nationwide broadcasting services, including Hindustani and Fijian programmes in education, news and entertainment.

Efforts to get comment from FBC's acting chief executive Francis Herman were unsuccessful.

A union source said an urgent meeting was held yesterday with management to discuss the expiry of the contract and how things would change should another tender win the deal.

The meeting lasted most of yesterday afternoon.

It is understood that the FBC management has indicated it would submit a tender that would try to prevent any other company from coming into the scene.

"We have been asked to treat matters discussed at the meeting as confidential," the union source said.

Buatoka said that while redundancies may be imminent, "the ball was in the FBC's court".

"It would be up to the company to prove that it could provide quality services to the public," he said.

Communications Fiji Ltd, which runs private station FM96, has indicated it would tender for the public broadcasting station.

+++niuswire

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