Pitching in millions – Contracts contribute up to $60m in remittances

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka speaking at the the 2020 Fiji Sports Awards on Saturday, March 25, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says remittance inflows from Fiji’s sportsmen and women contracted abroad remain one of the country’s highest foreign exchange earners.

Speaking at the 2020 Fiji Sports Awards on Saturday, Mr Rabuka said this amounted to remittances between $30 million and $60m annually.

“And totally, our people abroad remit, in the last calendar year, $1 billion to our country,” he said.

“We know all too well what it would mean for not just a family, but a community or village when one of our own secures a sporting contract abroad.”

He said remittances lifted families out of poverty and families were able to meet basic needs and essentials, which included housing, food, education and improved medical services.

According to Mr Rabuka, sportsmen and women also invested back into the country through initiatives in real estate, land development and commercial farming.

As the home of rugby 7s, Mr Rabuka said this helped attract tourists to Fiji’s shores with the tourism industry gaining marketing mileage when sporting teams participated in international events.

Meanwhile, Mr Rabuka said sports would remain a conduit for the People’s Coalition Government in its national development agenda.

“Through sports, the Government will continue to address issues such as gender disparity, disability, youth empowerment and social inclusion.

“Initiatives like the Pacific Sports Partnership help create pathways for our young people, especially our women and girls.

“We hope to use programs like the Pacific Sports Partnership to achieve our development agenda.

“The People’s Coalition Government will continue to invest in sports through modernising and building more state-of-the-art sporting facilities. There is huge potential to harness our sporting prowess and transform sports into a major income generating industry.”

He also confirmed the National Sports Policy was being reviewed to promote the participation of all Fiji citizens, irrespective of ethnicity, gender or physical and mental ability.

“To help build a more active nation, Government will continue to promote and develop sports and physical activities to address health issues, in particular, NCDs and obesity.

“A nation’s workforce needs to be healthy and fit in order to be productive and contribute to the society.”

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