Cabinet in its 18th meeting yesterday approved a new phase of economic reforms to be undertaken by the Coalition Government.
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka in a media conference today said the Growth Re-set Package will build on the work that has already begun through national consultations through the National Economic Summit, the Fiscal Review Committee, Investment Facilitation Committee and Budget development processes.
He said the Package will focus on legislative reforms for investment rules, short and long-term immigration, energy generation, environment and planning laws, foreign land ownership.
“The Growth Re-Set Package complements the work of the Investment Facilitation Committee established by Cabinet earlier this year to examine business processes.”
The first phase of the Package will focus on issues identified by businesses and investors as impediments to economic progress.
These are as follows:
- The immigration and work permit process. Government intends to ease access to Fiji for skilled professionals on short-term assignments and to speed up the processing of long and short term work permits. It also wants to look at better ways to use the skills of non-citizens already in Fiji and available to us.
- Investment in land, buildings and infrastructure. Government intends to ease the significant red tape constraining foreign and domestic investment in land, buildings and infrastructure, including the Land Sales Act, the foreshore lease process, environmental impact assessments and town and country planning rules and processes. These processes will need to include the urban populations and our resource owners.
- Foreign investment regulation. While there has been some improvement in the regulation of foreign investment, Government will need to look for further simplification in the current Investment Regulations.
- Electricity and energy sector reform. Government must urgently address challenges for investor access to electricity and to ensure we meet our energy needs in the next 10 years, refocusing in particular on our renewable energy targets.
Rabuka said these changes will be implemented through a Steering Committee to be co-led by the Ministries of Finance and Trade and includes members from the private sector members experienced in delivering projects to conclusion.
He said progress will be coordinated and monitored through the Ministry of Finance’s Strategic Planning Office.