23 Oct 2002

Fiji Sugar Commission chairman welcomes reform moves

5:49 pm on 23 October 2002

The chairman of the Fiji Sugar Commission is welcoming government moves to reform the industry.

Gerald Barrack says the setting up of an independent steering committee is good because there will finally be action on an industry plan presented a year ago.

The Fiji Sugar Corporation has had to be bailed out by the government and was at one point, technically bankrupt.

Mr Barrack says the steering committee will closely follow the industry plan.

"The Committee I think will to a significant extent act on the industry plan, it's been a very clear directive from the Prime Minister to the committee and its terms of reference, saying that Cabinet had approved in principle subject to certain modifications, the industry plan, and that the steering committee was therefore given terms of reference to carry that out."

Four new companies will be established that will manage the four sugar mills.

The government will provide a one-off injection of 11 million U.S. dollars and Mr Barrack says consideration is being given to the 16 million dollars in loans being exchanged for equity.