Don’t bail FSC out: Lutu
Shareholder wants administrators of FSC to pay off the $293 million debt
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