Reshaping our future means more than just promoting economic growth and development.
And for Fiji, we need to reshape our future through genuine dialogue and collaboration.
Prime Minister Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka made these remarks while opening the two-day National Economic Summit at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel this morning.
With the theme-Reshaping Our Future through Genuine Dialogue and Collaboration, the Summit aims to build confidence and trust between the Government and various segments of society.
It also aims to set the economic policy agenda for accelerated economic growth, underpinned by sustainable and inclusive development through a consultative and collaborative approach.
“This Summit is timely taking into account the need for our country to take stock, make the necessary changes and decisively move forward,” Prime Minister Rabuka told the 500 plus participants.
“As you are fully aware, and we all agree, that we face many daunting challenges that we must collectively address. Apart from the current unsustainable national debt level, we also have to be mindful of the geopolitical and global economic environment.
“As a small island developing state, we are vulnerable to such events which are beyond our control. It is critical that we must make timely adjustments so that we can cope and be able to survive in the global trading environment.”
As part of Fiji’s economic recovery efforts, Prime Minister Rabuka emphasised the importance of addressing the impacts of COVID-19 and the challenges inflicted by the Russia-Ukraine war.
“We need to strengthen our laws and institutions. We need to restore investor confidence and improve the business environment and at the same time, protect our natural resources,” he said.
“We need to rebuild our infrastructure which has been neglected, and most importantly look at ways to ease the burden of the high cost of living for our people.
“We need to strengthen the private sector which we so glibly call the “Engine of Growth. It is important to promote trade and build the confidence of the Private Sector – let’s learn a point or two from Adam Smith’s ‘The Wealth of Nations’.
“Whilst at the same time, we must continue to strengthen both multilateral and bilateral relations with our trading and development partners.”
He stressed that the Coalition Government strongly believes that addressing these priorities head-on is the cornerstone to building a progressive and prosperous nation for our future generations.
“I cannot stress enough how important this Summit is to the nation. I am sure that with our collective knowledge and wisdom, we will be able to develop practical and lasting solutions, to improve the lives of our people,” he added.
“I encourage you all to participate fully in this Summit, and find workable solutions to promote economic growth and overall development of our country.
“I am confident that the findings and recommendations from this Summit will contribute to the formulation of the National Budget and our National Development Plan.”
The Summit is attended by stakeholders including investors, civil society organisations and non-government organisations, financial institutions, government officials, lawyers and representatives from different sectors of the economy.
Apart from plenary sessions, participants have been clustered together to discuss key thematic areas such as governance and reforms, marine-based activities, technology, indigenous participation in development, water and wastewater management, and transport and energy, to name just a few.