Wednesday 1st October 2019
The continuous disastrous financial performance of the Fiji Sugar Corporation means the reality is that the technically insolvent FSC is now bankrupt, said National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad.
Professor Prasad said at no time in history has FSC continuously suffered such huge losses like in the last decade. For the financial year ending May 31, 2019, FSC recorded a consolidated loss of $23.1 million and an operating loss of over $80 million. Last year FSC announced a small profit of $800,000.
“This is unprecedented. And blame for this lies entirely on the shoulders of Prime Minister & Minister for Sugar, his Minister for Economy and the FSC Boards over the last decade”.
“What we are saying is no exaggeration”.
“This is because the Independent Auditor’s Report clearly states that uncertainty exists and this casts doubts on the Corporation’s ability to continue as a going concern”.
“The Independent Auditors further state that the financial statements do not include any adjustments relating to the recoverability and classification of recorded asset amounts and classification of liabilities that might be necessary should the entity not continue as a going concern”.
“While the Auditors note that the current financial status is critically dependent on Government’s support, they point out government guarantees and possible more financial support is dependent on the price of sugar, the quantity and quality of cane supply and success of mill improvements”.
The NFP Leader said the Independent Auditors could not have been more direct and forthright about the extremely bleak reality facing FSC and the sugar industry.
“The irony is that what the Auditors point out has seemingly been done by both the Bainimarama led military regime and the Fiji First Government through pumping in of millions of dollars supposedly aimed towards increasing sugarcane production and providing incentives to cane growers”.
“But this has not happened. Cane and sugar production have declined by almost 50% from the pre 2006 coup levels”. The number of active growers has drastically fallen by almost 6,000 in the last 12 years”.
“Despite this the Prime Minister, his Minister for Economy, and the FSC Board that has been almost entirely led by two expatriate Chairmen for 12 years continue to claim how they have revitalised the industry and FSC”.
“The current government has made diabolical decisions, resulting in stupid policies being unilaterally implemented.”
“They have continued to reject our calls for bipartisanship to collectively work together and find meaningful solutions to resuscitate the industry and FSC”.
“Any business cannot run without a quality and quantity supply of its core product. IN FSC’s case it is sugarcane to produce sugar”.
“And this government’s efforts to incentivise growers to do just this has been a colossal failure that has led FSC to a point of financial collapse”.
“This is the sad and painful legacy of the Fiji First government”.