FIJI GETS NOD AS REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 9) - Fiji has been chosen to host the Regional Private Sector Organisation (RPSO) despite strong opposition from other Pacific Island nations at a regional meeting of finance ministers in Funafuti, Tuvalu.

The chairman of the RPSO, Federated States of Micronesian businessman James Movick, said Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea had wanted to have the organization’s headquarters in their countries.

However, Fiji was chosen because the organization needs to be close to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva.

"I suppose it would make it easier, so it was decided that we would set up in Fiji," Movick said in a press conference at the Tuvalu Telecom Building in Funafuti. "We will come back to that probably in a couple of years, at the end of this two-year period."

Movick said they did not want the issue of the location of the headquarters to drag on like the setting up of the Tuna Commission, which took a couple of years to set up, after all the haggling and the stakeholders came to a compromise.

"We reached a compromise and we could not let what happened during the debate on the location of the Tuna Commission, which took two to three years to resolve before we finally got it in Pohnpei which it belongs."

The challenge for the organization is to look for funding.

"All of this begs the question whether in fact we have got the funding and the support to develop the secretariat," Movick said. "The way everyone is talking is like money is going to come flying out of the woodwork."

He said consultants say a headquarters for the organization would cost about US$855,000 (FJD$1.4 million) "which is fine if the money is forthcoming."

Movick spoke at the Foreign Economic Ministers meeting at Funafuti. He was also scheduled to meet with other potential donors.

Fiji's Minister for Finance, Ratu Jone Kubuabola who is attending the meeting, was not aware that Fiji had been selected as the headquarters of the organization.

He said the location of the regional headquarters in Fiji would be a sensitive issue.

June 10, 2005

Fiji Times Online: .

 

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