January 31, 2023


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Brain drain remains a challenge

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. [File Photo]

The government is investing in education to up-skill Fijian employees and counter brain drain.

Speaking to FBC News, Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum admits that many experienced workers are moving overseas and that this problem is not limited to Fiji.

The Minister says the tourism sector is the latest industry to see offers from Australia for chefs, and this is threatening the manpower in the tourism sector.

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He says Fiji cannot compare itself with larger economies like Australia and the United States they provide higher benefits as when they offer jobs.

“Positions of chefs, advertisement in the newspaper here where they are looking for chefs with more than 3-years’ experience offering up to $120,000 to $180, 000 AUD. The issue for us if all the experienced Fijians Chefs who is going to cook in our hotels when tourists comes. These are real questions.”

Sayed-Khaiyum says education is key to maintaining experienced people in different sectors of the economy.

“If you look at the budget we have a huge focus on giving awards to do short term courses, also we are allowing students who finish Year-12 and want to go into what we call skills qualification area all those sort of area has been focused upon and we are providing a lot more incentives for people to be trained in those areas.”

According to the Minister, the government is also offering master’s and doctoral degrees to those in the private and public sectors.

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He added that companies that want to sponsor students in universities will get a tax break—a 100 percent write-off.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says seeing workers leaving overseas is encouraging, but keeping the wheels of the Fijian economy in motion is also important.