30 Jul 2004

Fiji army to contract out services to reduce risks of redundancy

7:15 am on 30 July 2004

The Fiji army says it is now hiring out its soldiers for contracts with private and public companies.

The Army spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, says it is part of the commander's strategic plan, called Army for Life, to reduce the risk of jobcuts for the nearly 3,000 soldiers.

A defence review had recommended cutting the army's numbers substantially - but that is yet to happen.

Captain Leweni says the army is being pro-active to stop this occurring.

He says soldiers are working on a contract with Telecom Fiji to help install 86 satellite stations.

"It's actually in the outer islands of Fiji, mainly in the Lau group and then they will move on from there to other islands that don't have the facilities of Telecom. The soldiers are actually helping out in the laying of the cables and the engineering expertise that they don't have and the army has."

Captain Leweni says up to soldiers are involved with Telecom while other contracts are coming from the Public Works department and private companies.