Top Fiji economist Dr Wadan Narsey has expressed the hope that research institutes such as the Australian National University (ANU) will use factual data and feedback from local economists while trying to analyse the state of Fiji’s economy.
University of the South Pacific-based Narsey was commenting on a report on the Fiji economy by the ANU’s Professor Renuka Mahadevan.
Mahadevan presented the report at the recent Fiji Economic Update and will also use it to provide an update on Fiji for the Australian parliament.
Narsey said Mahadevan had mainly used data from the Bureau of Statistics without much input from local economists.
“What happens is that consultants come and pick our brain and then draw their own conclusion without doing any studies and surveys themselves. Some assumptions on the state of Fiji’s economy are made through data which have not been collected properly,” Narsey said.
Mahadevan has said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires that it could take several years for Fiji’s sugar industry to rebuild output in order to meet the 250,000 tons a year quota with London’s Tate & Lyle through to September 2015, which effectively replaces a previous quota with the European Union.
She said cane production in Fiji this year was expected to be 2.4 million tons this year, without forecasting raw sugar output.
In 2007, 2.5 million tons of cane yielded 237,400 tons of raw sugar, according to the Fiji Sugar Corporation.
Reiterating comments at the Economic Update, Mahadevan cited several factors underpinning her longer-term optimism about Fiji’s sugar industry despite pessimism caused by a reduction in the European Union’s preferential price since 2006.
She said that for a start, about 85 percent of planned upgrades and repairs to Fiji’s four sugar mills funded by a FJD$86 million loan through India’s Exim Bank have now been carried out.