125,000 in tourism sector left jobless, says A-G

COVID-19 has left about 125,000 people in the tourism sector unemployed and others on reduced hours, says Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He made the comment while opening the Central Eastern Division Agriculture Roadshow on Thursday.

The A-G said at the height of the pandemic, closing down borders, limited trade and lack of access to supply chains had caused widespread unemployment in major economies around the world. He said the layoffs have had a huge impact on the economy.

COVID-19 has left about 125,000 people in the tourism sector unemployed and others on reduced hours, says Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. He made the comment while opening the Central Eastern Division Agriculture Roadshow on Thursday.

The A-G said at the height of the pandemic, closing down borders, limited trade and lack of access to supply chains had caused widespread unemployment in major economies around the world. He said the layoffs have had a huge impact on the economy.

“At the same, it has affected the ancillary services that depended on the tourism sector and it has a wider impact on the economy in terms of demand and services meaning that people have had to look for other means of livelihood and many have turned to the agricultural sector,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“From one perspective it was very positive as we saw people that had turned from their backyard gardens return to it even in the suburbs. “Based on this, Government had decided to make seeds available and over 30,000 were assisted in these backyard farming schemes.

“However, there is a more substantial aspect of agriculture and that is we need to look at supply chains and value-adding in the agricultural sector.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji had failed to seriously consider value-adding produce before sending them offshore.

“I think the fact we have the theme ‘Grown, Nourish Sustain Together’ for the show this year is actually quite fitting because if we need to grow as a country, we need to grow agricultural production.”