Sunday, May 26, 2024
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80,000 Fijians leave in last 18 months

Well over 70,000 to 80,000 Fijians have left the country in the last 18 months for better opportunities abroad.

This has become a cause for concern for the Coalition Government.

While delivering his ministerial statement, the Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad said while Fiji’s economy has the potential to grow more than the annual three percent forecasted growth for 2024, addressing the issue the of job migration and workers leaving the public sector for the private sector is a pivot.

Prof Prasad said a five percent per annum is the minimum growth rate that is acceptable – which means that the Government must now look at our situation and find measures that need to be taken to address them.

Prof Prasad said one area is the loss of skilled Fijian workers to Australia and New Zealand is unprecedented; Fiji has lost 70 to 80,000 people in the last 18 months.

He said many of them with significant technical training and experience are being lost. We cannot blame people for seeking out better lives for their families in richer countries than ours.

“Many are looking for more secure health and better educational opportunities for their children; things that we in Fiji are not yet in a position to deliver.”

“The skills loss is a major concern for employers and investors. It is also a threat to economic growth. We should not forget that the Government, too, is an employer of skilled personnel. Our own Ministry has lost nearly a quarter of its professional staff in the last 18 months, either to migration or to the private sector.”

“This has been our biggest challenge in implementing policy, getting capital investment approved and efficiently managing public spending. Skills loss is our biggest short-term economic challenge,” Prof Prasad said.

The Deputy Prime Minister said from an investment and economic management viewpoint we are aware as a government that we need to take a modern, progressive approach to importing skills.

He said the Government must go out and actively find the skills and experience we need to compete in a globalised economy even as we step up education and training to ensure that our people have the best economic opportunities.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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