ADB Meeting Boost to Economy
Just imagine the positive impact the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank Board of Governors here next year will have on our economy and the Pacific as whole. The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in his ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday highlighted the successful hosting of this meeting will:
■Lay the platform for other large multilateral meetings here,
■deve●op visibility competing in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) market.
The annual meeting is scheduled for May 2 to 5 will be held in Nadi.
This is the first time a Pacific Island country will be hosting the ADB’s annual meeting. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji is very fortunate through its efforts and all the hard work that’s been carried out to be chosen as the future host.
He further highlighted that it is a sign of confidence that has been shown to the Fijian Government and also the country.
This will be the largest such event Fiji has hosted.
He anticipates at least 4,000 participants including Government delegates, ADB personnel, guests, spouses, observers, civil society organisations, media and other accompanying persons. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted that the period of the annual ADB meeting is one of the traditional low occupancy periods in our tourism sector.
He further elaborated the meeting period fits in well as more rooms would be available and it means more business and more employment opportunities in the tourism sector.
He said they have already started preparations towards the meeting and they are confident of delivering above expectations to make it a unique experience for the participants.
It will also be an opportunity for us to showcase our Fijian hospitality.
He reiterated to other Pacific Island countries while Fiji would be physically hosting the meeting; they want it to be seen more as a Pacific event.
During the 51st ADB meeting in Manila, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum noted the Fijian delegation attended a number of official engagements with ADB board of Governors, ADB management and convened a number of bilateral meetings.
It is also provided a valuable opportunity for Governors from member countries to discuss key global and regional issues, development challenges and opportunities.
It also provided an opportunity to discuss financing options to suit the development priorities and the economical financial needs of member countries.
The 14 Pacific Developing Member Countries are Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
He highlighted that Pacific Governors greatly appreciated ADB’s growing engagement with the Pacific region.
As part of Strategy 2030, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum noted that ADB should consider trigger-based mechanisms, where countries can access concessional financing in the event of adverse climatic events.
He also said embedding climatic vulnerability and fragility into Multilateral Development finance is essential for climate adaptation, prudent fiscal management and meeting the sustainable development goals by 2030.
Meanwhile, Opposition Members of Parliament Aseri Radrodro and Prem Singh questioned ADB’s role in the Pacific and who will be footing the bill for the ADB meeting here.
Mr Radrodro focussed on the role of ADB in the Pacific and how much funding it has given to each Pacific Island country and highlighted the top eight debtors of ADB.
He said he wondered Fiji’s ranking given that Fiji had been a member of ADB since 1970 and that ADB has committed around $317 million in loans and $27m in technical assistance.
He also claimed that in the past ADB had pointed out Fiji’s unstable political environment that needed to be addressed and their vision to assist Fiji achieve political and economic reforms.
He further claimed that contrastingly ADB as such despite the 2006 takeover continued implementing projects in the transport and water sectors.
However he said: “Any international meeting hosted by Fiji is always welcomed because it means we have a chance to earn some foreign dollars and expose Fiji further to overseas visitors.” He further claimed that ADB’s new focus seems to be to join the bandwagon championing climate change.
“Yes we need mitigation and rehabilitation programmes for climate change, and yes we need development assistance.
“But it does not have to come at a cost to our people.
“At a cost of further spiralling into the abyss of debt.”
Mr Singh said they appreciated the international platforms are beneficial for raising Fiji’s profile - but at what cost to the tax payers?
From left: Andrew Coriakula (student studying in Japan), Adi Miriama Drauna (student studying in Japan), Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, ADB vice-president for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Stephen Goff,...