Rural economy needs a boost – Kamikamica

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Acting Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

We have not quite hit the mark in improving the rural economy, says Minister for Trade and Investment Manoa Kamikamica.

While addressing a group of United States business owners in Nadi, Mr Kamikamica said there was a real need to set up businesses in Fiji’s rural areas to prevent more Fijians from moving to urban centers in search of better opportunities.

“One of the challenges that Fiji has had is whilst we have been growing as a country, we have not really quite equipped the rural economy in terms of activity,” he said.

“It seems to just get to the urban centers and not quite hit the rural economy.

“About 40 per cent to 45 per cent of Fijians live in the rural economy and there continues to be a drain of people from our rural communities into our urban centers.”

He said Government was working on developing policies that could encourage investors to set up businesses in rural areas.

“Our hope is through some strategies and through a lot of private sector collaboration we can try and develop options for our rural dwellers to remain in their villages and start earning a good income so that way we don’t have this rush of people moving away.”

He said they were also targeting investors in the renewable energy sector.

“We started looking at this a lot of more seriously which is our green transition.

“We are already perceived as a pristine country so we are focusing on that road and making some serious strides in this area.

“There will be some transformative opportunities that lie ahead for our small beautiful country and that means we’re looking at renewable energy alternatives.

“Renewable energy is about 40 to 50 per cent at the moment and it should be a lot higher.

“So that is one of the key things that we are pushing forward very shortly.

“We have our national budget coming and I am sure some of these discussions will be held then.”

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