As­sess­ments to be­gin for FEA ca­bles to go un­der­ground

In­de­pen­dent con­sid­er­a­tion for the ar­eas which Gov­ern­ment can tar­get to go un­der­ground first

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Gov­ern­ment has had dis­cus­sions with the Fiji Elec­tric­ity Au­thor­ity about iden­ti­fy­ing ar­eas where elec­tric­ity ca­bles can go un­der­ground. The At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Econ­omy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, con­firmed his dis­cus­sion with FEA chief ex­ec­u­tive, Has­mukh Pa­tel, a week and half ago. This comes as we re­build from the im­pact of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston. Thus, such moves can en­sure our in­fra­struc­ture is cli­mat­i­cally sus­tain­able and able to with­stand the in­creas­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ters. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they agreed this would in­volve a big cost and in­vest­ment and which was why they are first go­ing to get in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ment done. The in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ment would be for the ar­eas which Gov­ern­ment can first tar­get to go un­der­ground. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they would be tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion things like not just the ter­rain of the land but also in re­spect of the cost to busi­nesses. “Cost to busi­nesses in the sense where are the key eco­nomic ar­eas where we can en­sure can get up and run­ning very quickly,” he said. “Un­for­tu­nately in Suva, the man­u­fac­tur­ing ar­eas don’t nec­es­sar­ily have ded­i­cated lines like De­na­rau does which has ded­i­cated elec­tric­ity line, sew­er­age line, and wa­ter line.”

As­sess­ment

Given the cost fac­tor, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they want the as­sess­ments to be car­ried out very quickly for this can be fac­tored and built into Gov­ern­ment’s de­vel­op­ment plan. “We have al­ready had pre­lim­i­nary dis­cus­sions with or­gan­i­sa­tions like the World Bank, Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank and var­i­ous other or­gan­i­sa­tions and they would love to fund those types of projects,” he said. In fact, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum pointed out that ADB, through OPEC, has fund­ing for projects such as this in en­ergy and in­fra­struc­ture, some­thing which we were pre­vi­ously obliv­i­ous to.

Re­build­ing re­silience

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum made th­ese com­ments dur­ing the Fiji Busi­ness Fo­rum held the past Satur­day at the Hol­i­day Inn Suva. It was or­gan­ised by the Fiji Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try. He was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion from Mark Hal­abe, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Mark One Ap­parel. Mr Hal­abe was con­cerned that one of his big­ger clients is split­ting pro­duc­tion away from Fiji due to the pos­si­ble im­pact nat­u­ral cli­matic dis­as­ters pose to Fiji bas­ing their ar­gu­ment on the im­pact from Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston. “If Win­ston had gone through Suva and if my fac­tory had been de­stroyed, my cus­tomers busi­ness would be de­stroyed,” he said.

“So their decision now was that if Fiji has a sov­er­eign risk of cli­matic prob­lems that could wipe out in­dus­tries and hence their busi­ness, log­i­cally they will go to other coun­tries. “Dis­cus­sion we have had is that the in­fra­struc­ture we re­build must be able to sus­tain eco­nomic con­tin­u­ance given that we will have more fre­quent cli­matic dis­as­ters in the coun­try. “They say the in­fra­struc­ture we build must sus­tain a cat­e­gory 5 cy­clone then my cus­tomers will feel more com­fort­able that Fiji can sus­tain this destruction.” Mr Hal­abe said it’s not just his cus­tomers but any­body who in­tends to do busi­ness with the ex­port in­dus­try in Fiji, must have that as­sur­ance to max­imise Fiji’s po­si­tion. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum agreed in­fra­struc­ture needs to be re­built tak­ing the in­creas­ing cli­matic dis­as­ters into con­sid­er­a­tion.

As such, mov­ing elec­tric­ity lines un­der­ground would just be a start to en­sur­ing busi­ness con­tin­u­ance.

We have al­ready had pre­lim­i­nary dis­cus­sions with or­gan­i­sa­tions like the World Bank, Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank and var­i­ous other or­gan­i­sa­tions and they would love to fund those types of projects Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Econ­omy

Photo: DEPTFO NEWS

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