Caption: Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma. Photo: GOOGLE.
THE Commonwealth Secretariat in London was recently informed that the Fijian economy is expecting a 3% growth this year.
In Fiji’s bid to continue engagement with the Commonwealth and to reconfirm Fiji’s resolve to return Fiji to a sustainable form of democracy based on equal citizenry, Fiji’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola met with Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma in London yesterday.
Ratu Inoke updated Mr Sharma of Fiji’s recent political developments especially with the preparation to the September general elections as well as the economic development of the country.
He also informed Mr Sharma that more than half a million voters have been registered for the upcoming general elections.
“The Fijian economy is responding well to the economic reforms and initiatives implemented since 2008 and is expected to record a 3% growth this year,” Ratu Inoke said.
“This is the 3rd year of progressive economic growth for Fiji.”
At that meeting, Ratu Inoke told Mr Sharma that those already registered represented around 80 per cent of current eligible domestic voters.
Ratu Inoke said that Fijians living abroad were registered, with another round to begin in the United Kingdom on 13th June.
He also updated Mr Sharma that the 2013 Constitution was widely accepted as being progressive in terms of its Bill of Rights provisions and promotion of equal citizenry.
Mr Sharma was also briefed of the improvement in Fiji’s regional and international relation.
Ratu Inoke said that the lifting of the sanctions from Australia and New Zealand and their wish to re-engage with Fiji showed significant progress the country has achieved in the implementation of its roadmap.
He told Mr Sharma that the visit to Fiji in March by a high level delegation from the Commonwealth Secretariat led by Deputy Secretary General Mmasekgoa Masire- Mwamba recognised the important steps taken by the government to return the country to parliamentary democracy.
Mr. Sharma welcomed the updates on the developments in Fiji and expressed the eagerness of the Commonwealth Secretariat to assist Fiji in its preparations for elections. They will need to determine how this can be facilitated through the established elections monitoring body that will be led by Australia.
Mr. Sharma also expressed the Commonwealth Secretariat’s willingness to assist Fiji post elections to assist Government in putting in place the appropriate parliamentary systems and services.
Meanwhile, Ratu Inoke also welcomed the recent decision by the Commonwealth to allow Fijian athletes in to participate in the Commonwealth Games but at the same time conveyed dissatisfaction on the position not to allow Fiji’s participation in rugby and netball.