Staff members work at the construction site of the Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL) commercial building in Suva, Fiji, on Oct. 7, 2020. With the support of local employees, the Chinese companies have been speeding up the construction projects in the South Pacific island nation of Fiji in recent months to minimize the disruption caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 early this year. (Xinhua/Zhang Yongxing)
SUVA, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- With the support of local employees, the Chinese companies have been speeding up the construction projects in the South Pacific island nation of Fiji in recent months to minimize the disruption caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 early this year.
"The outbreak of COVID-19 did affect the progress of our projects in Fiji, but we have fully resumed work at our two projects in recent months and the top priority for us now is to do everything possible to make up the time lost to the virus and provide Fiji with quality projects," Song Tianpeng, general manger of China Railway First Group (Fiji) Co, Ltd (CRFG), told Xinhua.
According to Song, CRFG, which entered the Fijian construction market in 2007, has so far completed a total of 28 major projects and the company is currently facilitating two projects - the Davuilevu residential project about 15 km northeast of capital Suva, and the Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL) tower project in downtown Suva.
"The Davuilevu project undertaken by Fiji's Housing Authority is aimed at expanding access to affordable housing for low to middle income earning Fijians," Song said.
"The development project will be carried out in phases and will have all basic infrastructure like sewerage, water, electricity, roads, driveways, footpath and kerb and channel," he added.
The 18-level FHL commercial building, which will be the new landmark in Suva, has the construction area of 18,100 square meters. The project will not only provide more trade and employment opportunities for Fijians but also will promote the island nation's economic development and people's living, according to him.
Currently, there are about 300 Fijians and more than 50 Chinese employees working against time on the two projects, he said.
Ravinesh Prasad, 29, has worked for CRFG for eight years and is now working on the FHL tower project while Imroz Sali, 27, is working on the Davuilevu project.
They told Xinhua that they were very happy to work for CRFG because they can learn something new from their Chinese colleagues and earn income to support their families.
Describing the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a good platform for win-win cooperation in the South Pacific region, Song said that his company will take the advantage of the BRI to provide more quality projects for the island nations including Fiji.
"Our company has a long history working on infrastructure projects abroad. The Belt and Road Initiative provides us more opportunities to contribute our expertise and experience in building a world with enhanced regional connectivity and brighter future," he said.
According to Wang Gang, president of the China Chamber of Commerce in Fiji (CCCF), there are currently about 30 Chinese companies in the island nation, most of which are construction firms. They have all resumed operations and are working against the clock on their projects in recent months.
Wang told Xinhua that the Chinese companies have been helping Fiji develop better infrastructure and boost the economy.
"Both Chinese and Fijian companies should continue to strengthen the cooperation of mutual benefit, and bring tangible benefits to the two peoples," he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo praised the Chinese companies for resuming work on their construction projects and their contribution to the Fijian economy.
"The Chinese companies have done a great job in building roads, bridges, residential houses, and their efforts have been payed off by the improvement of infrastructure and the social and economic development in the island nation," he told Xinhua.
"This time when the COVID-19 occurs, the Chinese companies have been supporting Fiji's epidemic containment, donating medical supplies to the nation. And Chinese workers are working together with their Fijian colleagues to ensure the normal progress of these construction projects that have provided more employment opportunities for local Fijians, help local people build confidence in the face of such severe challenges, and help the island nation's economy rise from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic."
The ambassador stressed that China stands ready to step up cooperation with countries like Fiji on epidemic prevention, and resumption of work and production, make unremitting efforts to help world economy recover from recession and achieve steady development.
He also urged companies from Fiji and China to take full advantage of the BRI and expand their win-win cooperation in the years to come. Enditem