10 Mar 2005

Academic warns of more business problems in Fiji

2:38 pm on 10 March 2005

Fiji could face more business crises like the collapse of the National Bank of Fiji unless corporate governance improves.

That's the view of Professor Ron Duncan, the executive director of the University of the South Pacific's Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance.

As a result of corruption and mismanagement the NBF collapsed in 1997 with losses of 157 million US dollars.

At a seminar on corporate governance in Fiji starting on Friday, Professor Duncan will be stressing the need for Fiji boards to embrace the layers of oversight that now apply in Australia and New Zealand.

But he says it can be harder to make the mechanisms work because of the close links between members of the business communities in small Pacific countries.

"You have close personal and family relationships which make it difficult to put in place and have work, the sorts of checks and balances that will work better where those close personal and family and hierarchical relationships don't exist. Getting good governance in small countries is very difficult."

Professor Ron Duncan