Nadi businesses looking forward to kickstart after election
The President of Nadi's Chamber of Commerce, Ram Raju, says there is optimism that the elections will be good for business in Fiji's tourism capital.
The President of Nadi's Chamber of Commerce, Ram Raju, says businesses in Fiji's tourism capital are looking forward to a kickstart after the elections.
Nadi has suffered in recent years due to two devastating floods, which have cost his own surgery more than 100-thousand US dollars.
Dr Raju told Sally Round it has taken perseverance, innovation and soft loans from banks and the government to get business back to pre-flood levels.
RAM RAJU: There is optimistic hope that the election is going to be good for everybody, that it will bring parliamentary democracy back into the country and that has already given confidence, what you call investor confidence in this country, not only in Nadi but the entire country.
SALLY ROUND: Are you seeing more investment into your town as a result of this new confidence that you talk about?
RR: Not really at the moment. I cannot see much happening. I think they would be waiting for the results of the election.
SR: What about foreign investment? Have you seen any increase in that?
RR: Well there's a number of foreign investors already here, continuing to invest in the broader economy but I hope after the election the investor confidence will be even better and I think that will draw more overseas investors into this country. I think parliamentary democracy is what matters most. I think, as you know, we were expelled [sic] from the Commonwealth, we may be back in there very soon. Overseas donor countries are also waiting for the elections to be held. As you know some of the countries have withdrawn funding for certain projects etc like the EU.
SR: Where would you like to see this investment, this foreign investment coming into your town?
RR: Well, you see our biggest industry is the tourism sector and I think this is an area where we would like to see growth and investment. Tourism is going to be the leading generator of income for the entire country. More in particular of course Nadi which is regarded as the hub of tourism in this country. I'm hoping that there'll be more and more activity in this respect. Generally speaking I think we have been doing fairly well up until now I would say. The level of activity is likely to be improved soon after the elections.
SR: So you're looking for a kickstart?
RR: Yes of course. I think certain areas need to be addressed. Yes, we'll engage ourselves with all the stakeholders soon after.
SR: What about consumer confidence in the run-up to the election? This obviously has an affect in the numerous shops, traders here in Nadi?
RR: Well that has been getting better and better in this part of the country, in Nadi. We tend to have been doing fairly well compared to some other areas basically because of tourism and I think the sugar also has bounced back and I think there is a fairly good amount of activity as far as the sugar cane farmers are concerned, employment etc. I think the consumers are having better days and we are looking at economic activity getting better.
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