SUVA, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said on Tuesday that Fiji is already exploring a step-up in its manufacturing and assembly capacities for those looking to relocate supply chains to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
While opening the first series of business and economic roundtable discussions on Tuesday, Bainimarama said Fiji bit the bullet and made hard decisions early to spare the island nation of a large-scale COVID-19 outbreak.
With most businesses having re-opened their doors, Fiji could theoretically resume its role in regional supply chains from Wednesday, he said, adding that Fiji has far more to offer than they expect.
The prime minister said that Fiji is a nation of immense potential for investment, including in the services sector, which is served by geographic advantages, a built-in luxury brand, and a skilled IT-savvy, English-speaking workforce.
Meanwhile, Fijian Minister for Commerce, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya said that for Fiji, the rules may change in terms of how they do business overseas.
Budget support for small and micro businesses in Fiji will be considered in the next budget, said Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
For his part, the economy minister said that given the significant loss of jobs in tourism, the government was seeing an increased uptake in small and micro enterprises in response to the economic fallout of COVID-19.
He said that while unemployment is likely to remain high due to the crisis, the Fijian government is envisioning avenues to try to soften the impact.
The Reserve Bank of Fiji said the nation's economy is now expected to decline more sharply than the earlier estimate of -4.3 percent on account of the catastrophic impact of COVID-19. Enditem