FIJI SHIPYARD TURNS AWAY $1 MILLION CONTRACT

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Mar. 15) - A failing Fiji government shipyard is being investigated over claims that it turned down work, saying its workers were inefficient and unproductive.

The Ministry of Public Enterprises said Ba Provincial Holdings had approached Fiji Ships and Heavy Industries (FSHI) last year over building a new ship but was told the exercise would be expensive and that workers were inefficient and unproductive.

Ba Provincial Holdings then wrote to the ministry in November complaining about the attitude of FSHI chief executive Dale Alderdyce.

Ministry chief executive Parmesh Chand said he has raised the issue with FSHI chairman Viliame Gonelevu.

"I had a meeting with him early this year and he hasn't come back to me yet," Chand said.

In the letter, Ba Provincial Holdings chief executive Isimeli Bose said its subsidiary - Western Shipping Company - had been trying to buy or build a new ship since early last year.

He said FSHI was not keen on the project so they went to China to see if they could build a vessel there.

"At 2:30pm, on November 16, we again met the chief executive of FSHI, Dale Alderdyce, to inquire over the possibility of leasing the shipyard to Western Shipping," he said.

"We were informed by Alderdyce that leasing was out of the question; any construction work within the premises of their yard would be carried out by FSHI. But then in the next breath, he advised us to go overseas and have the ship built there as the cost of steel was prohibitive and workers were inefficient and unproductive," Bose said in the letter.

He said the new vessel cost between $1.9 million (US$1.1 million) and $2.5 million (US$1.5 million).

Chand said they could not interfere with the internal management of the company because it was the responsibility of the board.

March 16, 2005

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