NIUE WORKING ON BID TO BECOME REGIONAL IT CENTER

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ALOFI, Niue (July 22, 2001 - Niue Economic Review/PINA Nius Online)---The first spoke in what many see as Niue's "wheel of fortune" - the Information Technology Hub of the Pacific - gets put in place this week.

Government services, from the Cabinet down, will be halved as many state employees and private sector leaders attend a week-long Information Technology workshop by a consultant from Tonga.

"I've told the Cabinet that they are expected to attend the workshop," said Premier Sani Lakatani.

The Premier, who in May sought public submissions on a proposal for an IT development strategy, told TV Niue News that plans are already under way to set up factory shells to house overseas investors keen to participate in the island's latest economic blueprint.

"The government is investigating land for the buildings," he said.

The development will apparently be spearheaded with funds from the European Union.

Premier Lakatani told the islanders that their future is in information technology, not in having to go fishing or growing taro.

Niue has 450 public servants and a handful of business folk among the island's population of 1,748.

The government has been unable to stem a continuing migration of young people to New Zealand and Australia.

Previous moves to set up a cyber city IT base on Niue crashed in March last year before the Legislative Assembly had a chance to pass urgent laws for a German venture capital investor to move in.

The investor was wanted by Interpol for alleged fraud involving IT development plans in Scandinavia.

Major competitors in the Pacific for regional IT supremacy are New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia and Vanuatu.

For additional reports from the Niue Economic Review, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Magazines/Journals/Niue Economic Review.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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