Fiji’s infrastructure investment plan

The Fiji Times, 12 August 2023 – The Fiji National Infrastructure Investment Plan 2023–2034 is a guide to screening infrastructure investment over the next 5–10 years. The new plan released by the Ministry of Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics has reviewed the processes for public infrastructure investment planning, improved government planning processes, prepared a financing strategy to cover the whole-of life costs and prepares a clear roadmap for “priority projects to be further developed”. The outlook estimates for capital expenditures to grow at 2.0 per cent per annum to $1.3 billion in 2030.

Infrastructure Sectors under the plan are:

  • Roads and jetties (earthworks; pavement; footpaths; signals; guardrails; curbing; roadside drains; bridges; crossings; culverts; retaining walls; jetties).
  • Aviation (runways; taxiways; aprons; navigation aids; runway lighting; weather stations; control systems; fueling systems). • Maritime (wharfs; jetties; navigation aids; tugs; container yards; cranes; dredges).
  • Water and sanitation (pipelines; boreholes; reservoirs; storage tanks; treatment plants; pumping stations; oxidation ponds).
  • Energy (diesel engines; hydro turbines; generators; transformers; solar panels; switching equipment; transmission/distribution lines).
  • Public buildings (schools; hospitals; government administration; public buildings).
  • Telecommunications (internet cable and landing stations; AM/FM towers).
  • Waterways (seawalls; embankments; levies; river channels; dredges; irrigation; flood gates).
  • Urban development (public housing; public parks; commercial districts; retail; markets and commercial; city landscaping; pedestrian facilities; tourism infrastructure; waste management).

Energy consumption

National energy production and consumption in Fiji remains highly dependent on imported fossil fuels, states the Fiji National Infrastructure Investment Plan 2023–2034 released by the Ministry of Finance recently.

The document states reliance on fossil fuels is in part due to the demands of the transport sector and the ongoing reliance on thermal power plants to supplement renewable energy sources within Fiji’s electricity sector.

“The total investment required in the generation, transmission, and distribution sectors is estimated to be around $1.97b,” states the document. “EFL has identified a suite of renewable energy projects to develop and commission over the next 10 years.

“These investments would create new capacity to meet the future demand for electricity via renewable energy sources and satisfy relevant network redundancy requirements to improve the security and reliability of power supply.

“EFL plans to execute significant worth of capital expenditures over the next three years and is envisaged to cover distribution reinforcement projects, urban reticulation and rural electrification projects.

“EFL has carried out a re-prioritisation of its 2021 CAPEX and most of the CAPEX amounting to $213.52 million that has not been carried out in 2019 and 2020 have been re-prioritised to be implemented either in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively.”

It is assumed that the average electricity tariff of 38.4 c/u (VAT exclusive price), which has incorporated the tariff increase of 2.74 per cent effective from October 1, 2019, as approved by the FCCC (Fiji Competition and Consumer Commission) will be reviewed every four years under the new regulated tariff regime.

Waterways and environment

Waterways and the environment encounter degradation and abuse and need special care that involves developing and enforcing legislation, states the Fiji National Infrastructure Investment Plan 2023–2034 released by the Ministry of Finance recently.

The plan states the Waterways (and Environment) sectors provide a natural and built infrastructure that is central to supporting economic growth by sustaining crop production and productivity, tourism development, and food security.

“It is evident that environmental management is critical to support the sustainability of the benefits from nature supporting the country’s economic growth,” states the plan.

“This also involves providing effective specialised qualified human field intervention, as well as advocating to solicit the participation of all stakeholders in Fiji. The document states the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways (MOAW) has been established by the Fijian Government in recognition that waterways management and the preservation of Fiji’s natural environment share many inherent linkages.

“MoAW recognises its important role as stewards of Fiji’s waterways and natural environment to ensure these unique assets are protected and sustainably managed for future generations to enjoy.

“The ministry’s strategic plan further identifies its role in managing waterway-related hazards that are further exacerbated through climate change.

“The challenge of managing these hazards needs a whole-of catchment approach that transcends local boundaries.

“A major project identified is the Nadi River flood alleviation program in the coming years.”

Nadi airport expansion

The Nadi International Airport terminal will undergo expansion by using passenger growth projections and air traffic demand to future-proof the airport’s requirements through to the year 2043, states the Fiji National Infrastructure Investment Plan 2023–2034 released by the Ministry of Finance recently.

The document states Fiji Airports has completed a master plan for Nadi International Airport 2018–2043 which identifies and outlines areas for development as part of its growth strategy.

“The Nadi airport terminal will be further expanded to align with Fiji Airports’ long-term strategic objectives,” states the document.

“Underpinning the success of the aviation industry in Fiji is an effective regulator. In an evolving aviation industry post-COVID-19, the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) must respond to an increased need for regulatory and security services to keep people safe and secure.

“A safe and reliable aviation sector (ICAO compliant) goes hand in hand with Fiji’s desire to build back tourism. In June 2021, the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) alongside ANZ Fiji, signed a $106m loan to Fiji Airports.

“The loan will fund essential maintenance and capital works at Nadi International Airport and several outer islands’ airports, refinancing existing debt, and supporting the infrastructure priorities of Fiji Airports.

“The AIFFP’s financing package consists of a $96m guarantee to ANZ Fiji for ANZ’s loan to Fiji Airports and a direct $10m loan to AFL.

The AIFFP’s innovative partnership with ANZ, utilising AIFFP’s newly established guarantee instrument, ensured it could provide a local currency loan to Fiji Airports that best supported its operational needs.”

Maritime transportation

The heavy dependency by many Fijians on maritime travel means Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) must ensure that Fijians travel safely, and the marine environment is free from pollution, states the Fiji National Infrastructure Investment Plan 2023– 2034 released by the Ministry of Finance recently.

The document says with maritime trade and travel playing a vital part in the country’s life and economy, the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) is responsible for the overall safety of all maritime operations in Fiji, focusing on safety and marine environment protection.

“The MSAF will need to continue to work closely with the Government Shipping Services in carrying out repairs and maintenance of navigation systems such as lighthouses, beacons, and buoys that sustained major damage during recent climatic events such as Tropical Cyclones Winston, Yasa, and Ana.

“Fiji requires significant investment to transition to resilient and sustainable maritime transport and connectivity; access to finance and opportunities for investment will be critical for economic growth, resilience, and recovery.

“The Government Shipping Services functions as a department providing shipping and related services, development of shipping strategies, and related infrastructure. The objective is to operate and maintain mandatory marine navigational aids by facilitating sea transportation, thus providing travel, tourism, agriculture, fisheries, and commercial activity as well as facilitating sea safety and fulfilling national obligations.

“The Government Shipping Franchise Scheme ensures the movement of cargo and passengers between maritime islands. The franchise scheme enables connectivity and accessibility to markets, increasing economic activities and improving livelihoods. This is essential for maritime connectivity and accessibility, especially on uneconomical routes.”

Road network

The Fiji Roads Authority’s assets that include roads, bridges, and jetties are estimated to be worth about $11b, making the road network Fiji’s most valuable built asset, states the Fiji National Infrastructure Investment Plan 2023–2034 released by the Ministry of Finance.

The plan states over the past three years, FRA has managed a $600m-plus program of maintenance, renewal, and capital projects.

“It is useful to identify the extent to which transport infrastructure serves economic activity that increases export income as opposed to a general contribution to internal production and consumption.”

“Because of the growing importance of climate change adaptation and the exposure of Fiji’s coastal transport infrastructure to extreme weather events, it is also worth separate consideration because of the uncertainty surrounding future exposure risk and the nature of the decision to protect and/ or adapt to threats of low frequency but high cost.

“Projects can include disaster resilience features in their design or be projects or programs aimed at retrofitting the transport network to better withstand these risks. “In the next five years will be anticipated to further improve the road network.”