31 Mar 2005

Fiji PM says affirmative action for indigenous businesses being abused

9:24 am on 31 March 2005

Fiji's prime minister has disclosed that affirmative action for indigenous Fijian businesses is being abused.

Speaking at the annual convention of the Indigenous Fijian Business Council, Laisenia Qarase said millions of dollars in state contracts given to indigenous businesses were earning profits for non-indigenous ones.

Mr Qarase said the government has detected several disturbing trends in tender procedures involving indigenous businesses.

He said some indigenous businesses without adequate resources allow themselves to be used by acting as fronts for non-indigenous businesses.

Mr Qarase says the Fijian bidder may be awarded a contract with a 20 per cent price advantage but the non-Fijian partner is then called in to fulfil the terms of the contract.

Mr Qarase said the clear abuse of the system has defeated the whole objective of indigenous participation in business and the affirmative action policy will be reviewed.