Don’t bail FSC out: Lutu

Share­holder wants ad­min­is­tra­tors of FSC to pay off the $293 mil­lion debt

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - ARIETA VAKASUKAWAQA Feed­back: arieta.vakasukawaqa@fi­

Ashare­holder of the Fiji Sugar Cor­po­ra­tion yes­ter­day said the Gov­ern­ment was let­ting the cor­po­ra­tion off by bail­ing them out. Sai­mone Lutu said Gov­ern­ment should not bail out the Fiji Sugar Cor­po­ra­tion. He was mak­ing sub­mis­sions on the Re­form of Su­gar­cane In­dus­try Bill 2016 be­fore the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Eco­nomic Af­fairs in Par­lia­ment. “Why is it we have to go and bail them out?” Mr Lutu ques­tioned. “FSC with all the brain power they are there, you tell them to pay all that loan , we are not go­ing to write it off. Tell FSC you in­curred that loan of $293 mil­lion, you are go­ing to pay ev­ery cent of it.” Mr Lutu, an en­gi­neer by pro­fes­sion, was chief ex­ec­u­tive of Shell in Fiji when it was one of the main fuel sup­pli­ers. In later times, he has been a busi­ness­man serv­ing on sev­eral boards of di­rec­tors. Mr Lutu said the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the cor­po­ra­tion should earn their keep and had taken up the top po­si­tions to sort out their prob­lems. “That’s why they were brought into FSC and it’s time you earn your salary, when­ever they say Gov­ern­ment to help them, and then they will con­tinue to be soft,” Mr Lutu said. How­ever, if the Re­form of Su­gar­cane In­dus­try Bill 2016 was passed in Par­lia­ment, Gov­ern­ment would in­herit the $293mil­lion debt, he said.

Gov­ern­ment holds 30,239,160 (68.1 per cent) shares out of the 44,399,998 shares in FSC with 2060 other share­hold­ers hold­ing the rest of the shares. Gov­ern­ment in­tends to ac­quire the rest of 31.9 per cent to take over full con­trol. Mr Lutu made an ap­peal to all stake­hold­ers to tar­get bet­ter pro­duc­tion for the ben­e­fit of the fu­ture of the in­dus­try. “I am ap­peal­ing to ev­ery­body in the In­dus­try, please work to­gether. In five years we can pro­duce five mil­lion tonnes of sugar cane and 500,000 tonnes of raw sugar at least the yield will go up from 41 tonnes per hectare to 80 tonnes per hectare,” he said. Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika

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