21 Mar 2012

Calls for Fiji and MSG to make use of resources in region before sourcing outside

5:08 am on 21 March 2012

The permanent secretary of Fiji's Ministry of Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali, says Fiji and other Melanesian countries need to make more use of the resources in the region rather than sourcing them from outside the Pacific.

Fiji Live reports Mr Ali telling the special trade and economic officials from the Melanesian Spearhead Group, who have been meeting in Fiji that the MSG has a lot of skills and professional people compared to other Pacific islands.

He says more than 8 million, or 90 percent of the population of the Pacific Island countries come from the Melanesian countries, yet trade between the members is small.

Mr Ali says there have been instances where MSG tariffs rates in MSG member countries are higher than the normal tariffs, which he says runs counter to the spirit and the ethos of the MSG.

He said the meeting is considering the temporary movement of skilled people within the Melanesian countries to overcome shortages.