27 Jul 2006

FSC denies claim that India sugar deal is off

3:03 pm on 27 July 2006

The Fiji Sugar Corporation is denying reports that the Government has cancelled a deal with the Indian Government to restructure Fiji's ailing sugar industry.

Fiji's Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, claims the mostly state-owned corporation has decided to take on the restructure itself.

Mr Chaudhry - who is also the general secretary of the National Farmers Union - says the FSC is not up to the job because it has run the industry into the ground.

The deputy chairman of the FSC's board, Tukana Bovoro, says there never was a contract with the Sugar Technology Mission from India, but there is a Memorandum of Understanding, which still stands.

Mr Bovoro was unwilling to disclose any further information, saying it was inappropriate until FSC officials had met with the Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase tomorrow.

The Sugar Technology Mission began work to restructure the failing sugar industry in 2004 under a government to government agreement.