A-G Tells of Effects of Pandemic



There is a change in the status quo- in the manner we interact, in the way we travel and how we conduct business.

In addressing Natabua High School Year 13 students last week, the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum updated the youngsters on the way the Government had recalibrated its focus to meet the challenges brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic.

The A-G informed the students of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Framework and encouraged them to read it as it sets out all the plans and details of Government.

“We cannot predict how this virus affects people because information is still coming out on this and we cannot say when the vaccine will come about - it could three months, six months or even three years therefore the way we interact with each other, the way we do business, the way we travel and the manner in which we travel will need to be recalibrated,” he said.

Another key message, the A-G highlighted, was the need to increase home ownership in Fiji especially for the younger population and this is being addressed in the 2020-2021 National Budget.

“A lot of people in Fiji, when they are young they feel they should not buy a home and they should buy a home in their 30’s or 40’s but what we are trying to do is get you young people to own a home very quickly, even when are single as a lot of you feel that we should own a home when we get married or when I have children but we want to change that culture,” he said.

He added that the Government wanted young people to start thinking about it as soon as they start thinking and “the only way we can do that is by reducing the cost of buying a house”.

“That is one of our key efforts through the budget - in the budget we have said that anyone who earns less than $50,000- if you are building your first home, we will give you a $30,000 grant - not a loan - as long as you are building your first home.”

He also encouraged them to think about strata housing as another option to home ownership.

As this is the last year for these students before they move towards further education and a career, the A-G encouraged them to enter professions they are passionate about rather than one where they are being coerced into or simply following the crowd.

The forum saw an interactive discussion from the students where they were keen to know about any change in TELS and Toppers scheme and the A-G advised them to pursue what they are good at and choose a career of their choice.