ADB Meet­ing Boost to Econ­omy

Fiji Sun - - Sunbiz - MARAIA VULA

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.

Re­sponses:

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,...

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