Home > Topic > 40th Anniversary of China-Fiji Diplomatic Relations
Speech by Mr. Yang Zhiming, China Railway First Group
2015/11/20
 

Honorable Prime Minister JV Bainimarama,

Honorable Chinese Ambassador Zhang Ping,

Ladies and Gentlemen, friends:

Firstly, on behalf of all Chinese companies in Fiji and from me personally, I wish to extend my warmest congratulations on the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between Fiji and China! It is indeed a great pleasure to attend today's Forum. Please allow me to begin discussion and communication on Fiji’s Infrastructure construction on behalf of the Chinese companies in Fiji.

. Vigorous infrastructure construction - the successful practice behind China's economic development

Infrastructure is the basis for the development of the various enterprises of the national economy. China has made remarkable economic achievements during the 30 years after the beginning of reforms and opening up.

During the more than 30 years, China has undergone vast changes in areas such as transportation, energy, communication and infrastructure, and the great changes that have taken place in the national economic development are mainly reflected in two aspects: first, massive investment in the field of infrastructure, directly promoting the steel, cement, construction, equipment manufacturing, and many other industry development, boosting economic capacity, promoting technological progress and expanding employment opportunities. Second, improving infrastructure for attracting and promoting investment and capital introduction, setting up factories, and speeding up the industrialization process has provided a good hardware base and environment, guaranteeing the necessary basic conditions for economic take-off.

Practical experience has proven that in China's great leap forward in economic development, an important experience and solid foundation for rapid economic development and social prosperity is the initiative of large-scale infrastructure construction and systematic infrastructure construction.

. Bilateral Cooperation in Infrastructure Construction

Bilateral friendships go back to ancient times. China, while developing its own infrastructure, offered Fiji assistance mainly in the area of infrastructure development.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Fiji, in the field of infrastructure construction, the Chinese government has helped Fiji in building hydropower stations, rural electrification, roads, sporting gymnasium, hospital, etc, and provides certain preferential loans for infrastructure development; Chinese companies in Fiji currently have contracts for over 20 major similarly funded projects.

These infrastructure projects bring economic and social benefits to locals.

Among projects related to China, the Navuso Bridge was completed in 2009, changing the lives of the local people who had relied on boat ferrying for a long time, and the bridge greatly improved traffic movement and general business environment in the area. Completed at the end of December 2009, the Naqali bridge project connected the people of the upper Wainimala River in the Naitasiri Province to Suva via faster road access. Successfully completed in 2013 was the Nadarivatu hydroelectric project, saving F$43 million in diesel costs for the Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA) and the use of the new facility has helped improve FEA’s financial situation. Completed in May 2014, the Sigatoka Valley Road Improvement Project opened up a “green channel” for the Fijian people to the "Salad Bowl of Fiji". Completed in July 2014, the Navua Hospital Project began catering for the medical needs of around 25000 residents. Completed in September 2014, the Raiwai Low-Cost Housing project began improving the living conditions of low-income families and giving at least 1000 Fijian people a home . Opened in July 2015 the Buca Bay Road Upgrading project in Vanua Levu greatly improved traffic conditions, bringing new hope to people’s lives, the local economy and social development, people happily call it "the road of hope" . The Nabouwalu to Dreketi Road Upgrading project, with nearly 70 kilometers of brand new road will be completed at the end of this year. The main sea port in Nabouwalu connects to Viti Levuand also to the Northern town of Labasa. Road travel time from Nabouwalu jetty to Labasa has been drastically cut from 5 hours before to a little over 2 hours now. The new road is highly convenient to trade with Vanua Levu and the Northern Division and will play an enormously positive role in promoting the economic development of the North and even the whole country and in the improvement of people's living standards.

Chinese enterprises based in Fiji attach great importance to the quality of infrastructure projects in Fiji.

For the sake of superior quality, we have set up a complete set of management systems for project inspection, survey and design, equipment, materials and construction management, and implement the whole process of supervision to ensure that the project construction quality not only conforms to design specifications, but meets the requirements of local environmental protection guidelines. At the same time, Chinese companies hold obvious advantage in advanced technology, equipment, materials and in labor cost, etc., and have helped Fiji reduce project investment costs on the premise of project quality guarantee.

Chinese enterprises in Fiji have actively pushed forward the principle of localization in all our infrastructure construction projects, reflected in the extensive use of local managers and workers, providing employment to thousands. At every project, in every department, Chinese and local staff work together and all the workers are basically locals.

According to informal statistics, Chinese enterprises in Fiji have employed over ten thousand locals in the infrastructure constructions in terms of technicians, management and have helped improve the standards and know-how of locals, upskilled large number of workers, and helped increase their incomes and enjoy the benefits of life.

Chinese companies in Fiji have always taken the initiative to assume social responsibility, and have actively engaged with and actively integrated into the local society in Fiji. They have effectively established long-term, stable and harmonious relationships and cooperation with Fijians.

Under the support and guidance of the Chinese Government and the Chinese Embassy in Fiji, many Chinese companies in Fiji have donated to build roads and bridges, donated money and materials and have made a positive contribution to the local community development and through close contact, the Chinese enterprises have managed to deepen their affection with Fijians, and in doing so, have created good conditions in Fiji for further infrastructure construction cooperation.

. In the future, Chinese enterprises can explore in the following aspects of Fiji's economic construction and infrastructure development:

Fiji is the “crossroad” between Oceania and the Americas for sea and air routes is also the important transportation hub in the world. It is vital and of great significance to speed up infrastructure construction to promote the economic development of Fiji, increase employment opportunities and improve people's livelihood.

First is Highway project construction.

First of all, under the background of the expansion of the City of Suva, expansion and construction of urban roads projects must take priority.

At present, road congestion is a frequent phenomenon in Suva; therefore, Fiji needs to build a bypass ring road around Suva City center, both to ease congestion and to improve traffic efficiency and flow towards Lami and Nausori, and promoting economic development along the ring roads to essentially open up new districts. Secondly, Vanua Levuand other remote areas require highway construction. Infrastructure development must be accelerated on outer islands along with development of the main islands. Projects such as Buca Bay road projects need to move on, making the roads of "hope" benefit more people.

Second is harbor and airport upgrade and expansion.

To consolidate and enhance its leading position in the South Pacific, Fiji really needs to live up to the role of being the international transport hub. Fiji’s existing ports and airports are in urgent need of reconstruction and upgrading, so as to improve capacities and increase the ability to cater for increased international passengers.

Third is the improvement of squatter settlements.

The Fiji Government has always has always been concerned about this and has made it number one priority. Available data shows that there are 15% squatter settlements in Fiji’s 106 inhabited islands. In the process of urbanization in your country, as a major focus of the vision, plans for turning squatter settlements into new housing areas are being drawn up by the government as part of economic and social development.

While transforming squatter settlements into housing and developing and overhauling infrastructure, as a tourist destination, Fiji should also increase the financial support for landscaping, such as green plants, horticulture, parks construction investment to attract more foreign tourists to Fiji.

Fourth is Hydropower and Renewable Energy

It is understood that the current Fijian overall power coverage rate is about 89% and electricity demand growth is about 5% a year. According to the national energy policy, Fiji plans to gradually achieve 81% and 100% renewable energy generation by 2020 and 2030 respectively.

In the next ten years, is expected that Fijian investment in the field of renewable energy will reach F$1.5 billion, and Chinese companies are willing to cooperate with the Fiji Government in the development of renewable energy projects.

Fifth is Water Supply and Sewer line systems upgrade projects

On the basis of urban expansion, the existing Fiji water supply and drainage pipeline system needs comprehensive upgrade to satisfy economic development and people's urgent need for water.

Sixth is river dredging projects

Fiji’s wet season often brings flooding disasters, andif river dredging projects are well implemented, they can effectively reduce flood risks for the thousands of people living and working along the rivers so that they can live peacefully.

Establishing perfect infrastructure often needs a long time and huge investments. Construction and expansion of projects, especially major projects away from the city and urban areas, need more priority for development of infrastructure in order bear fruit and best positive effects possible after the completion of the projects.

Chinese companies will improve overall capability

In the 40 years of diplomatic ties, the bilateral infrastructure construction cooperation has yielded fruitful results and the efforts of the Chinese enterprises are obvious for all to see.

In spite of certain problems, Chinese enterprises will do all we can to adopt a series of measures, such as active learning to adapt to the Australian and New Zealand engineering and technical standards, and through support of the government, make efforts to promote and apply Chinese standards as and when conditions permit; Actively cooperate with the government to carry out land acquisition works; Invest in aggregate production and quarries, improve the supply scale of aggregate materials. Furthermore, toimprove their own management level and management ability, and strive to achieve sustainable development.

Ladies and gentlemen, Fiji is China's sincere friend and important partner in the Pacific Islands region. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, in the capacity of being a Chinese company in Fiji, we are willing to work with Fiji's government and with people from all walks of life in the general society to strengthen exchanges and cooperation. In a critical period of Fiji’s national efforts to improve infrastructure conditions, as usual, all have been able to stand by Fiji's rapid development of the national economy; people's living standards continue to improve. China-Fiji harmonious relations will continue to make efforts towards peace and friendship, and promote the continuous development of bilateral strategic partnerships.

Vinaka vakalewu. Thank you all.

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